Urbnspice Ultimate Recipe Series
While spring is fast approaching, the evenings are cool and comfort food is still very much a part of the daily menu. This recipe for Ultimate French Canadian Yellow Split Pea Soup is one of my childhood favourites. Every Friday night was pea soup night. Mom and Dad would typically do their weekly grocery shopping on the way home from work and always buy a fresh loaf of unsliced bread to go with our soup. Hot bowls of fragrant soup with thick slices of fresh bread slathered with butter – yum! Oh, how I looked forward to that meal every week.
When I had babies of my own, I pureed the entire pot of soup and served it to my little ones at a time when they were starting to experiment with textures after their initial baby food stage. It was one of their favourites as well, and very easy for their little hands to scoop the thick soup onto their spoons all by themselves.
This French Canadian Pea Soup is easy to make, and very quick to get simmering away in a Dutch oven or crockpot. It is nutritious and inexpensive to make, which in these times of ever-increasing food costs is a most welcome addition to any menu plan. It is a soup that we make all year round, particularly when we have enjoyed a bone-in ham. I save the ham bone for this soup, placing it into the pot while the soup is simmering away, letting the little bits of ham still clinging to the bone add even more flavour to the wonderful, comforting broth.
Ultimate French Canadian Yellow Split Pea Soup With Smoked Sea Salt
CHEF TALK: This soup freezes very well. Refrigerate the soup overnight. For the freezer reserve, I ladle 4 portions of chilled soup into 1-quart FoodSaver pouches and place them flat on a baking tray. Place a label with the date on the top of the pouch. Once the packets are frozen, line them up with all of the other soups in the freezer, reserve and pat yourself on the back! This soup is gluten-free and dairy-free.
CHEF TIP: Once the soup is finished cooking, remove several ladles full of the chunkier bits and set this aside (this will be your soup garnish). Puree the remainder of the soup and ladle a portion into large heated soup bowls. Then garnish the soup with the chunky half of the soup. Sprinkle with smoked sea salt and fresh parsley as well as a drizzle of good olive oil. Place crispy bacon or pancetta on top (as shown in the photograph) and serve hot! This French Canadian Pea Soup is now elevated to company status! Serve the soup with chunks of excellent sourdough baguette – don’t forget the butter – and enjoy!
Yield: 6 – 8 servings
- 2 tbsp. butter (or olive oil)
- 1 leek, white and light green part, sliced
- 1 onion, large, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, including leaves, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 – 6 cups (1 L) chicken broth (or more as required)
- 1 – 2 cups smoked ham, cut into 1/4” dice
- 1 cup dried yellow split peas, rinsed
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar
- Smoked Sea Salt sprinkled on top
- A drizzle of Olive Oil
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the leek, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, marjoram and bay leaf. Cook for a few minutes over a gentle heat without browning, stirring often until the vegetables are softened (about 6 – 8 minutes).
- Stir in the broth, ham and the yellow split peas.
- Bring to a boil, (skim the broth if necessary) then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer, stirring from time to time, until the split peas are softened and tender (about one to one and a half hours).
- At this point, add the lemon juice or vinegar. CHEF TIP: It is important to note that when you are cooking peas, beans or other legumes, you should add an acidic ingredient (like vinegar, lemon juice, tomato, wine) only after the peas, beans or legumes have softened. If an acid is added before they are softened, the peas will remain hard, no matter how long you simmer the soup.
- Remove the bay leaf. Remove half of the soup and set aside.
- Puree the other half of the soup with an immersion blender.
- Thin the soup with additional stock if it is too thick.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Tweak if necessary.
- Make sure that the soup is nice and hot. Ladle the pureed soup into warm bowls, the top the puree with the unblended chunkier soup on top of the puree as shown in the photograph. Garnish and Enjoy!
- Finish the soup with Smoked Sea Salt and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Sprinkle a bit of chopped parsley or snipped chives on top. Serve with crusty bread.
- Crisp up slices of thinly sliced pancetta or bacon in the oven and prop up against the chunky soup as shown in the photograph.
- Green Split Pea Soup: Substitute dried green split peas for the yellow split peas – delicious!
- Add a diced potato to the soup or leftover potatoes, if desired to create an even heartier soup.
- For a vegetarian soup, omit the ham and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
- Add a can of diced tomatoes at the end of the cooking process before you season to taste. It adds another dimension to the soup entirely.
- Puree the entire batch of soup or serve it unblended for a chunky texture (See Chef Tip in the introduction).
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As always, if you try this recipe for Ultimate French Canadian Yellow Split Pea Soup With Smoked Sea Salt, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. You can find me on social media – just be sure to tag @urbnspice and #urbnspice so I’m sure to see it. Enjoy!
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More Urb’n’Spice Soups:
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- Black Bean Soup with fresh salsa
Tweaking – A Study in Flavour Amendment
Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious – The Cookbook Series from Pastry Chef Denise Paré-Watson of Urb’n’Spice