Chris and I split a can of clam chowder the other day. You know, the readymade stuff. I’d forgotten how convenient it was to prepare. You just slap it into a pot and let it come to a boil, and then it’s ready. I’d also forgotten how much I liked it. I hope you’re not shaking your head, shuddering at all the preservatives and chemicals we consumed. Seriously, when you’re in the need for a quick soup fix, canned clam chowder always hits the spot.
And with that, soup season officially began.
After the clam chowder, I immediately found myself craving split pea soup, which I didn’t realize involved tossing a part of a pig into a pot to simmer alongside green split peas and other ingredients. There’s something elusively tantalizing about the smell of smoked meat—it feels round. Round and whole and filling. I think it strikes an instinctual cord in me, the part that huddles as close to a fire as possible until the flames practically lick my hands. No, maybe not that close. I’m a tiny bit afraid of fire.
This soup is a mishmash of legume and vegetables, too. You know what they do? They soften, and sort of melt. The immersion blender finishes the job. The result reminds me of baby food. Green pea puree or something along those lines. Soupy mush in that rare not-quite-yellow, not-quite-green color. Winsome description, I know. But the flavor! I’m not so sure a baby would be able to handle such a taste explosion; it would be too much to process.
I hope you make a huge pot of this soup on a chilly day. You might want to open a couple windows, you’ll be so warmed to the soul.
SPLIT PEA SOUP
Adapted from Bon Appétit
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
1-1/2 lbs. smoked pork hocks
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups green split peas
6 cups water
Melt butter in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add pork, marjoram, and oregano; stir 1 minute. Add peas, then water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover pot; simmer soup until pork and vegetables are tender peas are falling apart, stirring often, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
When ready, remove hocks. Using an immersion blender or regular blender (being careful not to overfill it), puree the soup. Cut pork off bones, dice it, and return to soup. Season with salt and pepper.