Split Pea & Winter Squash Soup
This is an extremely versatile and lovely cold-weather soup. It focuses on and utilizes many ingredients that are available throughout the fall and winter season; onions, garlic, carrots, winter squash, and pulses and legumes like split peas. Additionally, the soup’s preparation options range from completely vegetarian to quite hardy and stew-like by including ham and cream.
Dried and split peas are a tremendously rich source of fiber that is so essential for proper gut health. They’ve been used for millennia in the Mediterranean and remain an important dietary staple there to this day; although the consumption of peas probably originated in China. As with all pulses and legumes, they serve as a great source of dietary protein. Split peas are particularly rich in three B vitamin; folate (vitamin B9), vitamin B1, and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), not to mention the essential trace mineral, molybdenum. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them. This recipe provides roughly 600% of the suggested daily intake value for molybdenum. A study of more than 16,000 participants found that consuming legumes were associated with an 82% reduction in cardiovascular risk.
- 175 g (~1 large) yellow onion, chopped
- 10 g (~2 cloves) garlic, minced
- 12 g (~2 Tbs.) olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano (leaves only)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only)
- 175 g (~3 medium) carrots, chopped
- 150 g (~1 small) cooked winter squash like Delicata
- 650 g (~1½ pounds) split peas
- 2 L (~2 quarts) chicken or vegetable stock
- 250 mL heavy cream (optional)
- 350 g (~12 ounces) cooked ham, diced (optional)
- Juice of one lemon (optional)
In a large stock pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and allow them to soften, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Add the herbs, squash, approximately two thirds of the split peas, and 1.5 L of the stock. If you are adding the ham, add that now as well. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low heat and simmer. Stir occasionally and skim off any foam that arises on the surface.
In a separate medium saucepan, add the remaining stock and split peas. Bring to a boil and continue to cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the split peas are softened. Again stir occasionally, and skim off any foam that arises on the surface. Remove from the heat and process either in batches in a food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender to purée.
Add the puréed mixture to the large stock pot. If you are adding the cream, add this to the stockpot at this time. Continue to simmer for another 20 minutes. If you are adding the lemon juice, add this at the end before removing from the stove and serving.