Looking at this set up you might be thinking, “Gee whiz, that’s a lot of crackers!” But really, it’s about half the number of crackers Adam consumes with his soup. Every bite of soup is piled onto a cracker before he puts it in his mouth. It’s why he hates bisques and unchunky soup–it’s really harder to crackerize those soups. I’m told that this is not an uncommon sentiment for men (the chunky soup thing, the cracker thing is definitely weird, Adam). I love my bisques: lobster, mushroom, tomato…. yum. But this split pea soup is one we both agree on because it’s chunky and amazing.
I debated about whether to post this. First of all, it’s not mine even a little. It’s completely and totally the work of this lovely blogger who blogs at The Food Charlatan. Secondly, it’s not easy to make beautiful. And lastly, I always forget how much I love split pea soup. I always think of the nursery rhyme: “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.” If something is nine days old… I have to say, it could not be that good. But split pea soup IS good. It’s not just good: it’s comfort food (though according to HuffPo and the University of Minnesota, Comfort Food is A Myth).
Smoked gouda makes it comfort food, and makes science the fool. The Food Charlatan and this recipe introduced me to smoked gouda which introduced to me to the very kind cheesemonger at our local QFC, basically opening up the whole world of cheeses. I was born in Wisconsin, the land of the cheese heads, and yet I’m only familiar with a handful of cheeses. Smoked gouda is now counted chief among them because it’s nutty and smoky and not soft but not parmesan hard.
If you happen to make this recipe and your soup is somehow thicker than mine, it might be because you choose to cook it longer than I cooked mine. Or it might be because I lost count of the cups of water I put in after three. I think I used to have a functional brain, but I can’t remember.
Split Pea Soup with Smoked Gouda Cheese
2 Cups of Dried Split Peas
10 Cups of Water + 3 Tablespoons Chicken Bouillon, or 10 Cups of Chicken Broth
2 Bay Leaves
2 Sweet Onions, Diced
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
3 Stalks of Celery, Chopped
4 Medium Carrots, Peeled and Chopped
2 Cups of Ham, Diced
1/2 Teaspoon of Chipotle Chile Powder, or To Taste
6 Ounces of Gouda, Cubed or Shaved
Rinse and sort the peas in a metal colander. Look for foreign stuff like pebbles or shells of the peas. Sometimes the peas are yellow, which is fine.
Add the peas to 10 cups of water or broth in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. If you use the water & bouillon, bring the water and peas and bouillon to a boil for two minutes.
Otherwise, just add your vegetables.
Add the bay leaves, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, ham & bone.
Sprinkle Chipotle Chile powder over the soup.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
Simmer for an hour and a half or until you like the consistency.
Discard the ham bone and bay leaves.
Put the soup and bowls and top with gouda cheese.
Garnish with the top of your organic carrots (this is a thing, but I can’t find the link to prove it right now) or parsley if you have it.
Because my meal-eating family is small (my son does not yet eat my meals, and sometimes my daughter doesn’t either (big sigh)), I freeze over half of the soup in two containers for future meals.