I love pea soup, not the green stuff, rather the stuff I grew up with….Whole yellow Pea Soup, cooked slow with a huge hunk of ham and a ham bone is pure comfort food to a gal who grew up with Nordic parents! It’s the only reason I serve ham over the holidays, that leftover bone is pure gold to a pea soup! However, if you don’t have a ham bone lurking in your freezer, you can always use a couple of ham hocks. For those of you on a budget due to outrageous US Dental care, this recipe is not only filling, but quite budget friendly! We’re talking less than $5 for a hearty healthy meal!
I’ve decided tonight, to go with a version from Sweden rather than the Danish-Norwegian recipe of my youth. To change was somewhat of a conscious decision as I didn’t see Steve jumping up and down when I announced a couple days ago that I would be making another Pea soup. It’s not that he doesn’t like seemingly everything I make, he just didn’t get as excited as I was when I announced it, so maybe a variation would appeal more to him! I’m so lucky, he truly eats whatever I make or whatever we find unique in our travels (as in the case of Iguana in Honduras). Anyway, in researching other whole yellow pea soup recipes, I found that soup made from Dried Yellow Peas (Ärtsoppa in Swedish) is commonly served on Thursdays in Sweden, how coincidental!
So, you start this soup the night before (or early early on the day you’ll be cooking) by soaking your whole yellow peas in plain water. First give the peas a quick rinse and a look over to pick out anything that doesn’t look quite right (sometimes a small pebble or something can get in the mix). If you can’t find the whole yellow peas at your favorite store, check another store…In my area, I find them at Hannaford among the dried beans and such.
In a soup pot or large saute pan, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Chop fine: 2 medium onions, a stalk of celery and a large carrot, add to oil and saute for a few minutes till aromatic.
After sauteing the vegetables for a few minutes, drain peas and add them to the pot of vegetables, along with one peeled whole onion studded with 2-3 whole cloves. a nice meaty ham bone (mine was from a nice spiral ham served over the holidays, but you could also use 2 to 3 ham hocks) and about 8 cups of water. If you don’t have whole cloves, just toss in a couple pinches of ground cloves.
Bring to a boil, then cover pot and reduce to a simmer over low heat for about an hour and a half or so. At this point, some of the pea skins might have risen to the surface, some folks like to skim these off. Remove 2 to 3 cups of the soup, puree in a blender or food processor, (I LOVE my immersion blender for this) then return the puree to the pot (this helps to thicken the soup). Some folks who like smooth soup can puree the whole batch, just set the ham aside as you want the chunks of ham left in the soup!
Continue to simmer for at least 30 more minutes, or an hour, doesn’t matter at this point, it only gets better!
About 30 minutes before serving, remove the studded onion and the bone and any larger pieces of meat. Cut the meat into bite sized pieces, remove any fat and return the meat to the pot.
I added some extra meat I had saved with the ham bone, basically because I like chunky soup.
Season the soup with 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, and a 1/8 tsp. pepper and salt it to taste, remember the ham is salty on it’s own,so taste before you add! Simmer 15 more minutes.
Serve with a little grainy mustard swirled on top makes it pretty and really adds to the flavor. I added a nice black Pumpernickel Rye Bread and a side salad with a little Balsamic Vinegar, Perfect!
läckra! (in Swedish, “Delicious!”) Even Steve liked it!