What comes to mind when I say “classic soup recipe?” Do you think of tomato soup, beef barley soup, chicken noodle or something creamy like cream of mushroom? Around here, it’s split pea soup. Yes, that world famous movie prop that Linda Blair spewed so eloquently in The Exorcist is one of mine (so ours) favorite cold weather must eats. It’s got that stick to your ribs thing going on from all the fiber in the peas, a little sweetness from carrots and onions and don’t forget that smoky rich goodness from a big ‘ol pork hock. But wait…
Oh the horrors…using a hunk of fatty pork in a recipe so soon after the first of the year? Are you mad woman? Well, as a matter of fact, I am. Yes, I realize everyone is on some kind of diet/detox/cleanse/self-flagellation crusade for the first 10 days of the new year. So how about this. I make my split pea soup recipe with a giant smoked turkey leg instead of the pork hock.
While this may sound like a travesty of the most egregious kind, hear me out. Several years ago I had decided to make a giant steaming pot of split pea soup and had all the ingredients except for the pork. I went to something like 5 different stores and couldn’t find one anywhere. But at the last place I went, I found smoked turkey legs. Since I was hell bent on making the soup, and wasn’t driving another inch further in LA traffic, I tossed it in my cart and didn’t look back.
Since that day, my go to meat/flavoring for split pea soup is a smoked turkey leg. Plus, after the holidays stores have a bunch of them (really cheap) from all the leftover turkeys they had lying around. It really works great because it’s got all that rich smoky flavor pea soup needs, plus there’s usually a lot more meat on that leg than a hock. Oh, I do toss in a hock from time to time, but only if I find one that actually has some meat on it (which is becoming less and less common).
If you aren’t already convinced that making homemade soup is ridiculously easy and tastes so much better than that canned or boxed stuff I thought I would give you a little encouragement. This video will show you how to make split pea soup in 90 seconds. No, the soup isn’t ready in 90 seconds, but that’s all the time it takes for you to learn how to make this delicious and easy recipe.
Recipe: Split Pea Soup
- 2 Medium Onions (diced)
- 1 Celery Stalk (chopped)
- 1 Cup Carrots (diced)
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 1/2 Cups Dried Split Peas
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 2 Pound Smoked Turkey Leg
- 8 Cups Chicken Stock
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Melt the butter in a large stock pot or Dutch Oven, over medium heat.
- Once melted, add in the onions, celery and carrots.
- Cook until onions have softened, while occassionally stirring the vegetables. (About 5 minutes)
- Add salt and pepper (but go easy on the salt in case the turkey leg is salty).
- Stir in the split peas until they are good and coated with some of the butter.
- Sprinkle in the thyme and bay leaves.
- Add the turkey leg to the pot and then add the chicken stock.
- Give everything a good stir and bring it up to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer.
- Simmer until peas are soft (about 20-25 minutes).
- Carefully remove the turkey leg and the bay leaves.
- Use an immersion blender to puree everything to your liking. You can also dish the soup into a blender to puree. Just make sure you vent the lid of the blender so that the hot liquid doesn’t explode all over you and the kitchen.
- Cut the turkey meat from the bone and stir it back into the soup or use it to top individual bowls of soup.
You can make the same recipe using a smoked pork hock if you prefer.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 6
Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)
Recipe by Pamela Braun.