When it comes to soup, I veer strictly towards the "hearty" end of the spectrum. There's a time and a place for thin broths (i.e. chicken soup for when you're sick, duck broth when you're in the mood for soba), but there's not much out there in soupland that can beat iterations like beef barley, Portuguese kale and potato soup, and one of my personal favorites, split pea with ham.
I love the smokiness of the soup, which comes from adding in a thick ham steak and some bacon and letting the meats simmer with the broth for a good, long time. It's just the thing for a nice, relaxing evening at home with the person (or people) nearest to your heart. There's something about a simple, hot bowl of soup for dinner that feels cozy and intimate the way nothing else really does. Bonus: this soup is equally delicious heated up in the microwave the next day. All pictures by Mark Iantosca. xo
Split Pea Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
7 cups of water
1 ham steak – about 1 pound, cut into 4 pieces
3 slices of thick cut bacon
2 cups split peas
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 carrots cut into 1/4″ dice
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4″ dice
Over medium high heat, melt the butter in a big, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onion and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook 4 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add water, ham steak, bacon, split peas, thyme and bay leaves. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until peas are tender – about 45 minutes.
Remove the ham steak and put on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil to keep it from drying out.
Add carrots and celery to the soup and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes more.
While the soup is simmering, shred the ham with two forks, removing and discarding skin. Remove thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and bacon slices and discard. After 30 minutes, stir the ham into the soup and serve immediately. The soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If it gets too thick, it can be thinned with a few tablespoons of water.