A Soup Made of Peas with Split Personalities

So here is another food item with a name I’m curious about. Split peas. I was hoping split peas had split personalities and that the different colors are codes of what triggered their episodes. Like green is triggered by jealousy, yellow by anxiety or stress, and red by anger. Unfortunately, the name for split peas is very logical and almost self-explanatory. Split peas are peas that have been cut in half and dried. So boring, right?

This “Split Pea Soup” or “Potage de Pois Cassés” recipe comes from At Home with the French Classics. The author of this book describes the traditional version of this recipe as being arduous. The modern way is also arduous and a little kooky. It’s arduous because of the final steps and it’s kooky because it requires Bouquet Garni as well as a studded onion. I’m a novice cook, so I had never heard or dealt with Bouquet Garni or studded onions. Bouquet Garni is a method of cooking that I can best describe as being similar to making loose leaf tea. In fact I used my tea strainer for my Bouquet Garni. This particular bouquet consists of parsley, thyme, and a bay leaf. Why it reminds me of making loose leaf tea is because you have to either tie it up in a cucumber or wrap it a cheesecloth. This is so you sift it out later, but still get the flavoring.

Studded onions are also meant for this purpose and they are what they sound like. You take a whole onion, stick cloves in it, and drop it in your soup. I really wanted to stick cloves all over the onion and make an onion pinhead from Hellraiser, but the recipe called for only one studded clove, sadly.

Besides those two things, you also put in a large soup pot, green split peas, a leek, a carrot cut in half, a stalk of celery, 1/4 of ham, salt, pepper, and water. It looks a little crazy when you do this too. I couldn’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed and fascinated at the same time.


Seriously, what is this?

Once you cram all of those things in your pot, you bring it to a boil and then simmer for about an hour or until the peas are tender.

Once the peas are cooked, you take out practically everything and throw most of it away. You set aside the ham, but you say goodbye to your pinhead onion, your cucumber, and your bouquet garni.

Once you’ve accomplished that, you puree your soup until everything is blended. Then you dice your ham, put it in the soup, and add a splash of sherry.

My soup turned out too thick, but this can be remedied by adding water or milk. I forgot about this though and ended up eating it thick. It was good, but because of this, it felt like I was eating green mashed potatoes.

All in all, I didn’t like this enough to make again. Mainly because it is arduous to make.


Green with envy pea soup that thinks it’s mashed potatoes.


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