Thick as Pea Soup

feature-split-pea-soup-closeBy the time you read this my skipper and I should be happily onboard beautiful SV Solitude in USVI, soaking up the sun and sipping cocktails with good friends Gary & Torie. Come back in the next few weeks for upcoming recipes from the Virgins as I plan to take full advantage of cooking in their luxurious Hylas 54 galley. What will I be making? Well, we shall see what’s in the local markets…

But for now, let me take you back to a chilly fall day on the Chesapeake where I cooked up old-school comfort food in my pressure cooker. It may be reminiscent of sailing through “fog as thick as pea soup,” listening for the welcoming sound of channel marker bells.

Any recipe that uses dried ingredients…beans, rice, mushrooms, lentils, peas…is the perfect staple food for cruising. Add a pressure cooker to the mix and you have offshore culinary perfection. All the ingredients pack and preserve well on board and nothing beats a warm soup in a cold cabin. Split pea soup is one of those overlooked soups that you don’t see on menus much anymore. Galley Pirates are determined to make it popular again.

ham bone carrots and onions

Split Pea Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, chopped
1 large ham hock or ham bone with meat
1 lb dried green peas
6 cups chicken stock (my preference is to use 4-5 tablespoons of chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon in 6 cups water) 
2 bay leaves
fresh thyme
fresh ground pepper

rinse dried split peas

So…let’s just say this recipe couldn’t be easier. Rinse the dried split peas….

split-pea-ingredients-in-pot

…and basically throw everything into the pot! Some split pea soup recipes recommend soaking the peas overnight, but I can never think that far ahead!

pressure-cooker-on-stove-2

Lock down the lid and let the pot come up to steam. Reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes. If you’re using a conventional pot, just put a lid on it and simmer for 50-60 minutes. Add more water if it gets too thick.

final-split-pea-soup

This make a delicious soup right out of the pot. But if you want to take it one step further….

blend-in-cream

…cream the soup in your hand-cranked food processor with table cream (ratio 3:1, soup to cream). Add curry powder, a couple pinches of sugar and a dash or two of cayenne.  Grind into a smooth puree.

final-with-cream

Now you’ve turned this old-school basic into nouvelle cuisine that even the snootiest of your guests will enjoy! : )

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