Although a favorite across the nation, this dish was introduced to the U.S. by early English settlers. We've omitted the salty ham hock, but added smoked paprika for extra smoky flavor.
1 pound green split peas
2 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon canola oil
7 cups water
1 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bay leaf
4 ounces ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
How to Make It
Sort and wash split peas; drain.
Remove roots, outer leaves, and tops from leeks, leaving 1/2 inch of dark leaves. Slice leek in half lengthwise; cut each half crosswise into thin slices. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
Cook bacon in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until pieces begin to crisp. Add onion, celery, carrot, oil, and leek; reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add split peas, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 7 cups water and next 6 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 45 minutes or until split peas are tender.
Discard bay leaf. Stir in ham and smoked paprika; simmer 2 minutes or until ham is thoroughly heated.
I made this as written, but it seemed a little bland in flavor and needs more oomph to it. I also used my immersion blender before adding the ham to puree the vegetables, leaving it somewhat chunky and then I added the ham and paprika.
This recipe just sounded right to me. I was looking for something a little different than my normal pea soup and the addition of smoked paprika got me hooked. Long story short, I thought I had a bag of lentils and a bag of split peas, instead I had 2 bags of lentils. And I thought - why not I think it would be great. And it did not disappoint, even with the wrong legumes! I decided to saute the lentils for about 4-5 minutes instead since they need a little longer cook time and it worked out beautifully - simmered for 45 mins. I also omitted the bacon, didn't have any and, you know how it goes. I added the ham about 15 minutes before it was done, paprika last couple of minutes as indicated. I will try this with split peas too, but I will definitely add it to my lentil soup repertoire. If it's too thick, just add a bit more water before you add the ham. I don't normally rate recipes, since they are usually just a springboard - but enjoy reading them so thought I should give back.
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