Do you have one of those foods that theoretically you like, but every time you try it in reality, you’re just not so sure about it? Split peas are one of those foods for me. I was cleaning my pantry out this week and came across a lost little bag.
This particular food is usually waiting for me come pantry re-organization time. In the store, I see the bag of cute, brightly colored pulses and can’t resist buying it, then proceed to ignore it for the next six months. Why is this? Maybe I needed a recipe change. So this week I searched online to find recipes that got away from the overly-piggy versions I usually make. (Don’t get me wrong…I love me some pig, but sometimes I just don’t want it in my soup.)
Simple is sometimes better, so I was attracted to this recipe here at 101 Cookbooks. I’ll admit the beautiful picture is what really sealed it for me. I mean, split pea soup is definitely not a sexy soup to photograph, as you’ll see below, so you can really appreciate the beauty of her picture. Really, go take a look.
I changed one thing. Instead of onions, I substituted 6 leeks I had from my CSA share this week. Leeks in place of onions have never ruined a soup recipe, in my opinion, so I wasn’t worried about this change. The result? A much cleaner soup and I was delighted to be rid of the ham backdrop. Yet…
…something was missing. Maybe it’s because I’m a Texas girl, specifically raised a San Antonian, that the smoked paprika wasn’t quite enough for me. It was pretty, but it lacked…kick.
So, for lunch the next day, I chopped up serranos, my favorite variety of pepper, and left out the olive oil drizzle and paprika. I had my kick, but the serrano was a little too bright green for the earthy split pea.
Day three was the charm. I was making a crockpot full of chipotle shredded beef and had leftover canned adobo sauce sitting on my counter. It hit me as I was heating up the last dregs of soup – smokey, spicy chipotles. I stirred a spoonful into my bowl and WOW. Just wow. And yum.
Smokey, Spicy Split Pea Soup (Vegetarian, too!)
1 lb. bag of green split peas
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 med leeks or 2 large onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 lemon, juiced
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Rinse and pick over your peas. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Saute the leeks until softened and beginning to be translucent. Add the drained split peas to the stockpot and cover with water about an inch over the peas. Cook until softened, anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Add the salt. Stir in the lemon juice. (Note: 101 Cookbooks recipe had you salt the onions but I find myself reluctant to add salt before the peas are softened.) Puree with an immersion blender, leaving some of the peas unblended.
After serving each bowl, swirl a teaspoon of adobo sauce into the soup, using more or less depending upon taste.