I haven’t made split pea soup in AGES. I saw ham hocks in the grocery store and the soup popped into my mind. A bowl full of wintery deliciousness was my next challenge. Plus I wanted to add dumplings like my mother used to when we were kids. I’m not sure why but pea soup seems naked now without dumplings.
The recipe I found for my pea soup challenge was from Ina Garten. After reading all of the comments, and laughing over so many of them (lack of intelligence sometimes shows in those comments!) I knew I was going to “adapt” this recipe.
The comment where someone changed it so radically that the next person snidely suggested they post their own recipe because it was nowhere like Ina’s stuck in my head. I was sorta doing that. But since I still used all of her ingredients and directions otherwise, I call this a bonafide “adapted” recipe. The main difference being that I used ham hocks, Ina didn’t use any meat.
I sautéed the onions, oregano, and a cup of celery in olive oil in a large stockpot on medium heat. I added the celery as a good deal of the comments had also added it. It just seemed to make sense to use celery to add to the strong vegetable base flavors.
When the onions were translucent I added the garlic and gave it a quick sauté, about a minute or so. I didn’t want it to darken and get bitter.
I added the carrots, potatoes and the entire pound of split green peas at once. Again, a good deal of the comments had simply done that instead of doing it in two additions as Ina had. She wanted some bite to the peas, hence adding the second addition of peas later. I like my peas all falling apart and creamy so added them all at once.
After the soup came to a boil I turned it down to simmer and let it cook for about 45 minutes. I stirred it occasionally and scooped foam off several times.
When the peas were nice and mushy I removed the ham hocks with tongs and let it set for a couple of minutes to cool. I picked the last pieces of ham off the bone and added the bits back to the soup. I taste tested for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. I hadn’t added salt earlier due to using the ham hocks that can be salty.
At this point my soup was rather thick and as that was also a problem in many of the comments, I added 2 more cups of chicken broth to thin it somewhat. You could use more or less depending on how thick you like your soup. Taste test for seasoning again if adding more broth.
I whipped up my Danish dumplings (recipe below) for a final touch of comfort in my soup. I brought the water and butter to a boil. I then stirred in the flour and beat it like mad. It looks like a mess but I keep whipping it with a fork and it is smooth in a minute or two.
I drop one egg at a time into the saucepan and whip the batter again like crazy until it is fully incorporated. I do this three more times and my right arm is almost cursing me by the time I’m done. The process of making the dumplings needs to be fast to prevent scrambled eggs, but it’s a fun workout. Or else I’m just weird that way. But I get amazing dumplings that don’t fall apart on me.
I use a large soup spoon, a tablespoon to form the dumplings. I get the spoon wet and warm in the soup then scoop a tablespoon or so at a time into the bubbling soup. I keep wetting the spoon, scooping and dropping dumplings into the soup until all the batter is used. Sometimes I have to wiggle the spoon in the pot to get the batter to let go.
When the dumplings are all floating in the soup, I put a lid on the pot and let them cook for about 5 minutes on medium low.
I taste tested the soup for salt and pepper, add some of each and served the soup hot.
Deliciousness! The split pea soup had a nice blend of vegetables and seasonings. It was creamy and so satisfying. The dumplings gave the soup some chewable texture and more of a feeling of comfort soup. Like you want to keep eating this for days and days. The pot was large enough that we did have it for lunch a couple more times before it was gone. A very filling soup, I didn’t need anything else with it. My P.S. usually has a sandwich to dip into his soups. He did like the flavor of this soup very much!
Green Split Pea Soup
1 cup yellow onions; chopped
1/2 cup celery; chopped
2 cloves garlic; minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups carrots; medium dice
1 cup red potatoes; medium cut with skins on
1 pound dried split green peas
8 cups chicken stock or water (may need to add up to 2 cups more to thin)
2 ham hocks
1 -1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, sauté the onions with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the carrots, potatoes, split peas, chicken stock and ham hocks. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking.
Continue to simmer until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste test and add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove ham hocks. Remove bits of ham left behind and add back to pot.
Add dumplings using recipe below, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
1 cup Water
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
In a saucepan bring 1 cup water and butter to a rolling boil.
Add flour and salt, stir quickly and remove from heat.
Beat in the eggs with a fork, one at a time.
Drop dumpling batter by almond-sized spoonsful to briskly boiling soup.