Seems as though this is turning into a food blog, but whatever! My friends know I love to cook, I’m not shy about admitting that I cook well (thanks to mom for that) and I love sharing recipes. If I cook something that tastes good, why not share it? I’m not one of those “oh its a secret” recipe people. Anyway, the weather here the past couple days has been rainy rainy rainy and a bit cool. It sort of reminds me of fall… in July.
On cooler rainy days like this I crave comfort food- warm foods that fill you up and provide some feeling of nostalgia like grandmas kitchen or holidays. Split pea soup is not something that I ever had growing up, its a food I never tried until I spent some time in Scotland. When I was working in Aberdeen there was a lady who ran a lunch cart around the corner from where I worked and she made THE BEST homemade split pea soup. It was so savory and good and it made a perfect lunch on a drizzly cold Scottish day. I’ve done my best to try to recreate that taste in my version of split pea soup. Lovely chunks of bacon, aromatic bay and thyme give this soup a wonderful flavor; and the addition of a couple potatoes help lend a creamy texture to the peas.
Jessica’s Scottish Split Pea Soup
- 1 Onion, diced
- 3 Medium Carrots, diced
- 2-3 potatoes, cut into small cubes
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced small (add more if you really like garlic)
- About 1/2 pound of whole bacon, cut into cubes. (also, if you want it meatier, add more. If you dont eat meat, leave it out- though I’ll warn you it wont taste as rich or flavorful if you do.)
- About 8-9 cups of some kind of stock- I used beef because thats what I had on hand, but chicken is the more “traditional” choice. If you’re going with the vegetarian/vegan version you can use vegetable stock.
- 3 bay leaves
- about 3/4 tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme
- 1 1/2 cups split peas- I used yellow, you can use green if you want.
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot on a medium high heat, cook the cubes of bacon- letting them get nice and brown and crispy on the edges. After they’ve cooked, remove them from the pot and set aside. Leave the fat that has rendered from them IN the pot. Throw in the onions, carrots, garlic and potatoes. Cook until the onions are translucent, then add your stock, split peas, the cooked bacon, thyme, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Cover it up, reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook away for about an hour to an hour and a half. Dont be shy about adding a little extra stock or even a little water if it looks too thick for you.
Serve piping hot garnished with homemade croutons. (remember to remove the bay leaves) I cut up chunks of that homemade sourdough and toasted them under the broiler on all sides. You could buy them, but I think if you’re going to take the time to make homemade soup, you might as well go all the way with the homemade croutons! Make it look fancier by cutting them into triangles or circles, or brush them with garlic infused oil for even more flavor. Cooking is about experimentation and making things suited to your tastes. Dont be shy about not following a recipe or altering it to suit you. Cooking can be fun and enjoyable, just let yourself go!
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one- it might be a little too hot for soup just now in the States, so save it for a chilly November day. I’m quite certain you’ll like it.