Pea soup is inexpensive, tasty, slimming, healthy, and freezes very well. Dried peas, however, need 24 hours to soak, so plan your pea soup 24 hours in advance.

There are many variations on pea soup, so feel free to experiment with what you add to the basic ingredients listed below.
It all depends on your food preferences and what you have on hand.
 
Ingredients

  • 500g dried split peas

  • 6-8 cups water

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large or two small onions

  • 3-5 cloves garlic

  • 2 sticks celery with leaves

  • 2 carrots

  • 1 medium potato

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt and pepper

  • Chopped ham or bacon (optional)

Method

1.  Sift the peas and remove any foreign matter
Pick through the peas by hand removing any foreign matter or bad looking peas. Because peas are a natural product, they may sometimes contain dust, grass seeds, lumps of soil, etc.
2.  Rinse and pre-soak the peas
Put the peas in a sieve and wash well under a running tap. Then cover with lots of water and soak for 12 hours. Change the water and soak for a further 12 hours, pouring this water away too.
3.  Dice the vegetables
Chop up the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and potato.
4.  Sauté the onions
Warm the olive oil to medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onions and cook until softened and glossy but not browned â?? 3-5 minutes.
5.  Add the remaining ingredients
Add the garlic, carrots, celery, potato, peas, freshly ground black pepper, and then add the water. Do not add the salt yet. Stir well. Add optional chopped ham or bacon.
6.  Boil, cover, and simmer
Turn the heat up to maximum and bring the mixture to the boil. Cover the soup pot and simmer over low heat. Stir often at first to prevent soup sticking to the bottom of the pot. Then stir occasionally.
Simmer until the peas are very soft â?? this could be a couple of hours. If the soup is getting too thick, add a little water. If the soup burns, simply decant it to a new pot â?? do not scrape the bottom of the pot â?? this will spread the burned flavour through the meal.
7.  Puree the soup
For a smooth, creamy soup, blend with a hand blender or mash the peas (remove bay leaf before blending). Add sea salt or Himalayan salt to taste.
8.  Serve with cream or feta
Serve hot with warm, fresh bread and butter, and drizzle with fresh dairy cream or sprinkle with crumbled feta.
Warning
Pea soup can be scalding â?? so do take care not to burn yourself.

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