regular old split pea soup

Normally, I'd add an Indian edge to split peas with spices like ginger, turmeric, mustard seeds (love the pop of those things), and cumin. Last night's dinner was a last-minute affair, prompted by an ill-timed toothache combined with a crucial need for sustenance. This basic soup was tossed together almost by rote in 15 minutes and reminds me of my dad, who nearly lost his temper over the gob of butter I once smashed onto a really nice hunk of Italian bread. In the words of my dad, "Just taste your food! Leave it alone!" Cheers, Daddy.

My dad and stepmother at my son's wedding in 2008

super basic split pea soup

2 TBSP olive oil
a big yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
3 celery ribs, sliced
8 oz. dry green split peas, rinsed
3 qts. chicken or veg stock
a bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil for a few minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the peas fall apart, about 30-40 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick during cooking, add some water. Check for salt before serving, and maybe toss some sliced green onions on top.

You can make the hammy variety super easily by using water in place of the stock and adding in a leftover hambone. I usually leave the peas out until the hambone has had a chance to flavor the brew. Then I pick out the bone, save whatever meat there is, and add in the ham with the peas for the last 30 minutes of cooking. My dad surely prefers this method, but that's another story.
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