Ridiculously Good Split Pea Soup

MAKES 8 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 15 minutes • COOK TIME: 1 hour

Working with the youth of America in the kitchen keeps me both in stitches and on my toes. A sassy Jersey girl named Katie Bealer is one of my trusted assistants. Hanging around Katie is like learning a new language, one I think of as Text-o-Talk. She took one taste of this soup and exclaimed,“OMG!” I LOL’d in response. (See, I’m learning.) I was actually thinking of calling this recipe RGSPS in her honor; anyone who comes up with descriptor “ridiculously good” deserves to be honored. In any case, her unbridled enthusiasm for this soup made it a keeper for the book. If you enjoy traditional split pea soup with ham and want that smoky flavor here, just add smoked paprika or ground chipotle chiles. However, it’s the blending of the split peas that drives the taste in this recipe, creating a velvety mouth feel that’s perfect for transporting the flavors of the garlic, carrot, onions, and thyme that round out the soup. As a bonus, especially for those concerned about diabetes, split peas are great for you, being rich in fiber, which fights cholesterol and helps regulate blood sugar levels. As for Katie and me, all I can say is we’re BFFs.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
1 cup finely diced onion
1 cup peeled and finely diced carrot
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups dried green split peas, rinsed well
8 cups vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Chive Oil, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and sauté for about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and split peas, then pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to deglaze the pot. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the remaining 7 1/2 cups of broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer until the split peas are tender, about 40 minutes.

Ladle 2 cups of the soup into a blender and process until velvety smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into to the soup and cook just until heated through. Stir in the lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Taste; you may want to add a spritz of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Served garnished with the parsley and Chive Oil.

VARIATION: For a smoky flavor add 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika or 2 dried chipotle chiles, rehydrated and minced, when sautéing the onion.

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods. Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.