Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Canadian Split Pea Soup

I grew up outside of Detroit city, just 3 miles from the Canadian border. There were a number of Canadian recipes that easily crossed the border, and this must be one of them. What makes it Canadian? Now, that's something I've never fully understood. I've always figured it has something to do with the addition of the barley and the potato. Those additions make the soup heartier than it's American cousin, and also make the flavours more complex. Whatever it is, this is the soup I grew up with, and a recipe that one of my kids recently requested. Enjoy it where ever you live!


1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 ham bone
2 cups dried split peas (green or yellow)
1/4 cup barley
6 to 8 cups water
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 cup potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 tsp dried leaf thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Place onion, garlic, ham bone, split peas, and barley in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally to make sure the peas and barley aren't sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add the carrot, potato, and celery, along with the thyme, bay leaf, and celery seed and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Add additional water, if the soup gets too thick. Remove the ham bone from the soup. When the ham bone has cooled, remove the ham from the bone, returning the ham to the soup. Stir in the parsley, just before serving. Taste the soup, using the salt, pepper, and vinegar to correct the seasoning. Serve, using extra parsley on top of the soup.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: If you'd like a vegetarian version of this soup, simply omit the ham bone!

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