Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chunky Split Pea Soup with Ham, Pressure Cooker Style

When my brother and I were little, my father would drive us to Oxnard, California-- where his family lived. We'd pack into the back of his small Red Volkswagen Bug (we're talking in the early 60's) for the road trip. In between dad being the refereee between squabbles from the kids in the backseat, he started a tradition to ease the boredom. In the city of Buellton, California, there's a restaurant called "Andersen's Pea Soup". We'd eagerly look for the billboards that had the logo of their mascots, Happea and Pea-Wee that comes up every 100 miles, or so. Countdown... the games begin to see who will spot a bulletin board first!

 The drive from Monterey, California to Oxnard took about five hours-- but to us, that felt like a week! The reward was that Dad would stop for us to enjoy a meal at the restaurant. I still remember ordering "The Traveler's Special". I always chose a bowl of pea soup, a vanilla milkshake and the onion bread.  What a weird combo!  When my son was little, I carried on the tradition, when we'd head south to visit Disneyland.
To this day, my son and I still love pea soup.

When Deb, at Kahakai Kitchen, posted her Chunky Style Pea Soup, I felt childhood memories coming back.  I had to make it!  I've made split pea soup before, including a crockpot recipe that's pretty good.  What I liked about Deb's version, was that you needed to make a ham stock ahead of time.  I also liked that she added Yukon Gold potatoes to the soup-- Yukon's are my all-time favorite potatoes.  Let's begin:

I was really pleased to find these ham shanks at my "Mom and Pop" grocery store.

I was even more pleased to see how much meat I got for less than $3.00! I'm definitely going to buy another one to keep in my freezer.

I proudly wear the tiara for "Gadget Queen".  I'll take it!  I am particularly fond of my digital pressure cooker-- especially when I don't want to make the stock one day ahead (because I was craving the soup).

After adding 3 quarts of water, to the ham hocks (these were shanks, actually), I pressure cooked them for 30 minutes. See how easy it is to release the steam? I push the button and it's "Old Faithful"!

Perfect ham stock in 30 minutes!

 I remove the ham and let is drain and put the ham stock in the refrigerator-- then into the freezer for a quick chill.  That way, the fat is easier to skim off.   Now, for the rest of the soup preparation...

The ham is easy to pull off the bone.  I did a rough chop and set it aside.

I am a soupaholic. I haven't bought a canned soup in ages.  I've learned that soups are so forgiving, in that I really don't measure that often. As long as I have a mirepoix (celery, carrot and onion), some herbs and homemade chicken stock-- I'm in business!  Sometimes I chop the mirepoix by hand, but another of of my favorite gadgets, a Cuisinart Food Process does a great job!

I like to pulse/chop the carrots and celery first and then the onion (I don't want mushy onions).  Easy!

Now for the peas-- I used a whole package, picked through them and washed and drained them.
I've made six quarts of homemade chicken stock just a few days earlier.  I grab 3 quarts, according to Deb's recipe. The rest of the quarts are in the freezer.

In some olive oil, I begin cooking the mirepoix, then I add the garlic at the end, so it doesn't burn.

I grab some fresh thyme from my backyard, and two bay leaves. Instead of using kitchen twine, I save those wonderful bands that are used to wrap celery.  Then, I add the package of split peas.

Last, I add the ham and chicken stock and let this come to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes. I didn't photograph adding the diced Yukon Gold potatoes-- I was a bit distracted at how thin my soup seemed. I double checked Deb's recipe and it was a total of six cups of stock... okay...

I send a "tweet" to Deb and mention that 6 quarts sure seems like a lot. She tweets back that, "yikes", she'd made a mistake! I need 3 quarts of stock total-- not 3 quarts of each! (Deb has, since, edited her recipe for the rest of you.)  Rescue 9-1-1 is pictured above. I quickly scoop out about half of the stock and add one more bag of peas (I bought an extra one, thank goodness) into a small pot with about 1 quart of stock.  On high, I cook the peas and in 30 minutes they are soft and ready to be added back into my Dutch Oven. End result-- four quarts of beautiful and chunky pea soup.  I used my immersion blender, just like Deb did.  I don't like my pea soup to be completely pureed-- it's purely texture. If you like it that way, go ahead!

Now that I got the texture of the soup the way I wanted it, I hesitated on adding smoked paprika (like Deb did).  You see, I'm a big fan of Old Bay Seasoning.  I uploaded this photo on the Old Bay Seasoning Facebook page and I won a prize!  I have no idea what it is, but I'd be happy to get more of this. I use this in my egg salads and in most of my soups.  This was the perfect choice to compliment this soup!

On the left is the fresh bowl of soup.  The next day, I thought that the soup was even more flavorful and super thick.  On Day #3-- it was gone.  My son took some home with him, and he just loved it.

I served this with the King Arthur Flour Buttery Pull Apart rolls.  However, next time, I make this-- it's definitely going to be served with Pioneer Woman's Rosemary Skillet rolls with whole wheat.  That would be the cherry on the sundae, so to speak.

I give this recipe two enthusiastic thumbs up!  Thanks, Deb, for the lovely recipe.  I forgive you for the typo, because I've done that myself. In a way, you did a big favor for me.  The stock that I scooped out became the most delicious lentil and sausage soup-- that I have, yet, to blog about!  Come see what Deb's Souper Sundays has posted tomorrow, including this one.  If you've recently made a soup, salad, stew or sandwich, send it off to Deb. You can be included in her weekly Sunday roundup!

As soon as I receive my prize, from Old Bay Seasoning, I'll share what I got with all of you.  The recipe, with my minor adaptations is posted below. If you're receiving this via email or Feedburner, please JUMP to my blogsite to print them.

Enjoying Saturday,

Pin It


Debinhawaii said...

Too funny! I am glad that you liked the soup and were able to recover from my typo--(somehow the 3 quarts mixed ham and chicken stock morphed into 3 of each or 6 quarts when I typed it! Double Yikes!), but it is fixed now. Glad you were able to make another great soup with the extra stock!

Great changes--I'll have to try the Old Bay sometime! Thanks for trying the soup, helping me find the mistake and sending it to Souper Sundays!



ARLENE said...

In my head I remember "Pea Soup Andersons," but it's definitely the same place. I have to confess that as an east coast gal, I'm not comfortable in California, but I remember this place fondly. I remember the soup was so thick you could stand a spoon up in it. I've always been afraid of pressure cookers, though my mom made THE BEST sauce (gravy, to her) in hers. I didn't even know there was a digital one. It looks a lot safer than the one with the "peacock"--that's what we called it when I was growing up. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.

Kate said...

I remember Andersen's Split Pea Soup! Delicious...the Kitchen Gnome brought me one of their cookbooks a few moons ago....great stuff. Looks do the rolls.

TKW said...

You know how I feel about pea soup (vampire food) but I did enjoy your story!

George Gaston said...

ROAD TRIP! Oh, to go back in time for just one more "family road trip". Despite the squabbles with my sister, who always got car-sick, the memories are still some of my childhood favorites.

Debby, this Pea Soup is absolutely marvelous. Filled with some many great ingredients. I like the addition of Old Bay... a distinct flavor, but never takes away the flavors of the dish.

Thanks for the recipe & road trip memories...

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Ah, split pea soup. One of our favorites. I've never tried Old Bay in it - great idea.

Anonymous said...

I have a leftover ham bone in the freezer - I may have to sub that, but split pea is one of my husband's favorite soups.

Thanks for sharing! :D

Cheryl said...

First off I must hide this digital pressure cooker from my husband he woudl immediately buy one! Do you really like it, and what brand I have wanted one for sooo long and digital even better! That soup looks delish, I need to make some soon!

Monica H said...

pea soup and a vanilla milk shake? I'll pass on the shake but this soup would be perfect for for the cold wet weather we've been having.

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

Isn't that restaurant famous for the soup? I think I've seen it on the travel channel...
I love this kind of soups. I just made a similar one with leftover ham and navy beans and I can't stop eating it!

Free Samples said...

Wow! They turned out great! Good work :)

Marguerite said...

Love pea soup and Old Bay, and your wonderful rolls! All looks great!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I'm going to have to look into a digital pressure cooker. That looks like a great gadget. And I had to laugh at the picture of all your soup containers heading for the freezer - mine looks exactly the same with all those blue lids!

Cristie said...

What a wonderful tutorial on split pea soup! I love split pea soup, but have never found a really good recipe for it--YEA! Thanks so much for sharing.