Mama's Pea Soup (with Garlic Bread)
Updated: Jul 31
Hi internet. I am sick, and you know what's the best thing when you're sick? Soup.
My mom is really good at making soup, and she always made me soup when I'm sick. She makes a sick turkey soup (chicken noodle soup but with superior meat), but pea soup also hits the spot.
I know what you're thinking. Pea soup? That can't be good. Peas are boring. But this soup isn't any regular pea soup. It's filling, savory, and it even has smoked red meat in it (very important for flavor). And it's even better with garlic buttery bread.
I had a video call with my mom to immortalize this epic recipe. She said the instructions not in chronological order, but in order from most important to least important. That's not really how my brain works, so we struggled a bit as I asked her for proportions for ingredients and more specifics. We got some of the details down, not all of them, but at least now you'll have a written recipe.
-1 lb yellow split peas
-8 cups water
-1 medium onion
-4-6 cloves of garlic
-½ head broccoli
-3+ carrots (optional)
-1-2 potatoes (optional)
-2 stalks celery (optional)
-1 bell pepper or 2 mini sweet peppers (optional)
-3 bay leaves
-½ teaspoon coriander
-1 teaspoon cumin
-Dash of cayenne pepper
-1 tsp dill powder
-1/2-1 tsp paprika (optional)
-1 tablespoon crushed tomatoes (or 1 teaspoon tomato paste)
-At least 4 oz smoked meat, diced (can be sausage, bacon, ham, etc.)
My mom said it would take 1 hour, but it always takes me 1.5 hours. I suspect that it can take 1 hour if you're super fast at cutting vegetables.
Place 8 cups of water into pot, preferably a stainless steel pot, and put on high. Rinse peas well and place into pot. Wait until boiling, then reduce heat to low to simmer.
Salt to taste (I use 3 teaspoons) and wait 30-35 minutes. Remove any foam that crops up (this takes forever). During this time you can try to get ahead in the recipe by preparing the onions and cutting up vegetables.
Medium chop your onion and sauté in oil until golden brown (like in the picture below). This takes a while and requires occasional sprinkles of water so the onion doesn't burn.
Peel carrots and potatoes and cut them up into medium-sized pieces. Cube celery and cut up peppers, garlic (finely sliced), broccoli (finely chopped), any other vegetables you will add, and smoked meat.
After those 30-35 minutes, try the peas. Cook them a little longer if they’re not soft. You'll notice they gobbled up a lot of the water. Add 3 bay leaves.
Add onion, and optionally carrots, potatoes, celery, peppers, and parsley. I like to add each vegetable as soon I've cut it since the vegetables need time (15-20 minutes) to cook anyway. Then add in crushed tomatoes/tomato paste and smoked meat.
Whenever you add something, you can increase the heat so that the soup continues simmering (since the ingredients you add are cold and will lower the temperature of the soup, which may stop the boiling).
Add in garlic and spices: cumin, cayenne pepper, coriander, dill powder, and optionally paprika.
Finally, add broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes max. Then you're done! Turn off the heat. Look at that color. Don't look at the splotches - the soup got excited.
It’s best to wait one or two days before eating since that gives the flavors in the soup time to mingle and get to know each other.
For the garlic bread, I ripped a slice of bread and toasted it a bit. Then I slathered on as much butter as my heart desired, shredded up some garlic with a Microplane, and slathered that on too.
This soup likes to solidify in the fridge, so I added some hot water to turn it from a stew into a soup.
I'm still not making it quite as well as my mom, but it still turned out tasty, cozy, and rustic.
I hope you enjoyed this post. My next blog post will probably be about rugelach. Stay tuned!