It’s Fall and just the right time to start making soup again. This is one of my favorites not just because it is simple and quick to make but because it is so delicious. I use a natural liquid smoke but if you do not want to use it you can substitute smoked paprika or smoked salt.
1 cup diced ham (I use only humanely raised pork)
1 small onion diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 large carrots peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 pound dried green split peas rinsed and picked over
4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8-12 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 Tb chicken broth paste (like “Better Than Bouillon”)
1/8 tsp Natural liquid smoke (Alternatively you can use 1/2 tsp smoked paprika or smoked salt in place of the sea salt)
|1. Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot|
2. Add ham, onions, and carrots, cook, stirring often, just until vegetables begin to soften. Stir in garlic, bay leaves, thyme and split peas and stir for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, then pour in 8 cups of vegetable/chicken broth and bouillon paste.
3. Increase heat and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, skimming any foam that rises to the top, until no more foam appears. Simmer uncovered for1-1 1⁄2 hours, or until peas are soft. Add more broth as needed while the soup simmers.
4. Turn off heat. Stir soup to mix well from the bottom up. Add liquid smoke or paprika stir again.
5. Using an immersion blender directly in the pot, puree the soup until slightly chunky (almost smooth but with some texture). I like to puree half of the soup and leave the other half chunky. Alternatively, puree in batches in a blender.
6. Reheat soup in the pot and ladle into bowls, garnish with homemade croutons and serve warm