Friday, January 09, 2009

Split pea soup with pancetta and ham

I should just go ahead and change the name of this blog to Soup and Brekkie, cuz I'm on a fucking kick. Soup is a basic thing, though, and anyone can make excellent soup if they're willing to keep bags of bones and carcass in their freezer. If they're not, though, they can still crank out a reasonably fantastic split pea.

Split pea soup doesn't even require stock to be awesome. The peas bring plenty of flavor of their own, particularly when combined with a (celery-less) mirepoix of minced carrot and onion, ham and pancetta. Render the pancetta in a drip of olive oil, then brown the mirepoix in the bacon fat. Add the diced ham and the split peas, and stir them around to coat in the fat (sorta like making risotto). Add a couple bay leaves and thyme sprigs, then a bunch of water. Simmer for an hour (stirring once in awhile), or until the peas are softened but still retain their shape when stirred. Salt and pepper to taste, and stir in lots of chopped parsley and mint. I like extra mint and black pepper in mine.

I made some fatty croutons from some leftover pugliese (although I lied to Peter and told him it was ciabatta, just to fuck with him). Just cubed and browned in butter with a crunch of salt and some thyme, and there was a nice textural contrast always welcome in a bowl of soup.

Enjoy with early pajamas and a mug of budget chardonnay.


Anonymous said...

mmm! the salty goodness of the pancetta makes my heart skip a beat!

Elra said...

Mmmhh, delicious on a chilly night like tonight.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Nice, I love you that you didn't blend the hell out of it like most people do.

Peter G said...

I agree with Marc...lovely chunky texture. Always beautiful Heather!

Finspot said...

A touch of sherry is a nice addition to split pea, especially if you've got it all warming in a thermos on a mid-winter walk. Ahhh!

canarygirl said...

Gawd. Yum. I have GOT to get some peas from the grocer.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Looks just about perfect, and I happen to have a nice bag of split peas in the cabinet. No pancetta, but I do have some bacon from the farm up the road, and I think that will do nicely.

Kevin said...

Soups have been on my mind a lot lately as well and this one looks really good. I like that you used both pancetta and ham in it.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

That soup looks so good. Here I am always trying to get the meat out of it and you're trying to cram more in. LOL! I thought I was the only one who liked wine with soup. Hubby keeps telling me it's wrong?

peter said...

Whatever about your soup; I can't BELIEVE you lied to me. About croutons, no less. Is nothing sacred?

We Are Never Full said...

nice. one of my faves that my dad cooks but he wouldn't use pancetta cause he doesn't know wtf it is. love it.

Lo said...

I can't believe you beat me to this, Heather. I have a pile of split peas just waiting in my pantry...??

What to do?
I guess you'll have to wait and see! :)

Love those fatty croutons. Nice add-in.

SK said...

This looks lovely.

maggie said...

Yum. I just went to the indian grocery near my apartment to look at split peas and lentils and stuff. Cheap as chips. So soup it is.

I, too, like sherry in this sort of thing. What sort of ham do you use in addition to the pancetta? Can I just use bacon if I'm lazy?

Heather said...

Fenavo - Mine too. Oh wait, that was just a murmur.

Elra - It's one of my faves, for sure.

Marc - Yeah, the puree isn't doing anything for split pea's reputation. :P

Petah - chunky is my favorite way of a soup. Though consomme is always nice, too.

Finny - That's a fantastic idea! One more thing to keep stocked in the cupboards. :)

Nikki! You're back! Get some peas.

Jen - It's all bacon, as far as I'm concerned.

Kevs - There's no rule saying only one pork product may be used at once, right?

Judy - Even when I was a vegetarian, I used to use veggie bacon in my split pea. This is much nicer.

Jube - LOL!!!!one! :D-----C==3

Amy - This is based on my mom's recipe, but she always just used a ham hock due to budgetary restraints.

Lo - I'm determined to think of a better way to use split peas, but so far I've been unsuccessful.

Shelley - That's high praise considering this is easily one of the hardest soups to dress up. Thanks!

Mags - I use regular applewood-smoke ham (Niman Ranch), just diced up. And bacon totally works in place of pancetta. It's all pretty much the same.

Cynthia said...

Oh, I can't take my eyes off this soup. Sooo good!

Happy New Year!

toni said...

Soup obviously rules these days. Almost everyone's blogging about theirs. Love split peas - and pancetta? What more could a girl want from a soup?

Brittany said...

The last time I had split pea soup, I was about 8 years old.
It was army green and contained no pancetta.
..and I puked it up.

I have always stayed away from it, but your abundance of color and fine representation of pork has me actually thinking this sounds good-
rather than tickling my gag reflex.

Seriously. This is a huge milestone in my life.

Heather said...

mmmm. looks good. i love that you used both pancetta and ham. and that mug of chardonnay sounds pretty nice, too :)

Peter M said...

I'm just relieved you didn't call this a "shtoop"...phew!

The homemade croutons here got me excited...this makes your soup, well - glorious.

glamah16 said...

You are always god at soups. Thats one thing I have to master this year.

Jude said...

Why does everything you post make me warm, fuzzy, and want to curl up in a thick blanket?