Recipe for green split pea soup with challah croutons
For the past month or so, I've been making bean and pea soups in the slow cooker, where they break down gently over the long cook time and, with a stir or two, they become their own chunky-smooth bits of heaven. Instead of, or in addition to, the croutons, you could add some sliced smoked sausage, like beef hot links, or smoked chicken breast cut into cubes. Make this soup deliciously vegetarian by using water instead of stock, and omitting the meat. The recipe includes stovetop and crockpot directions.
Green split pea soup with challah croutons
Adapted from a recipe that first appeared on The Perfect Pantry. Serves 6.
1 lb (2 cups) green split peas
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried thyme leaf
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
2 Tbsp of your favorite hickory-smoked barbecue sauce
5-1/2 cups water or homemade rotisserie chicken stock
Optional: 3-5 links of smoked sausage (I use beef hot links), or chunks of smoked turkey breast
Place all ingredients in a 4-quart slow cooker. Set to HIGH and cook for 4 hours. After 4 hours, stir the soup. The split peas should have broken down to make a chunky soup with great consistency. Stir, taste, and adjust for seasoning (more salt, more pepper, more BBQ sauce). If you're planning to add sausage, don't add more BBQ sauce. If you want a smoother soup, transfer the contents of the slow cooker to a food processor (in batches, if necessary) and pulse to desired smoothness. If you're adding smoked turkey chunks or cooked sausage, stir it in after the soup has reached the desired consistency. Turn slow cooker to low, and cook for 30 minutes.
Stove top: Place all ingredients in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then cook over low heat for 1-1/2 hours, stirring and checking occasionally to make sure the peas are not sticking (you might have to add half a cup of water). Stir, taste, and adjust for seasoning (more salt, more pepper, more BBQ sauce). If you're planning to add sausage, don't add more BBQ sauce. If you want a smoother soup, puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor (in batches, if necessary) to desired smoothness. If you're adding smoked turkey chunks or cooked sausage, stir it in after the soup has reached the desired consistency. Simmer until the meat is warmed through.
To make the croutons: Cut 2-3 slices of challah (or brioche) into 1-inch cubes. Toss with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Toast in a frying pan over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, until the croutons are crisp on all sides.
Serve the soup hot, topped with croutons.