Split-Pea Soup With Dilled Croutons
Split pea soup makes an easy to prepare, economical and satisfying meal. The dilled croutons are rich and buttery and bring a sophisticated quality to this otherwise simple soup. A handful of frozen peas tossed in at the end of cooking adds some fresh color and taste as well.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 ribs of celery, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 2 small smoked ham hocks (about 1-1/4 lb)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups green split peas
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3-1/2 to 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
- For the croutons:
- 1 cup diced Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
Prepare the soup:
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots and sauté until soft. Add the ham hock, bay leaf, split peas, chicken broth and 3-1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the peas begin to cook apart. Add up to 1/2 cup more water to thin the soup a bit if desired.
Locate the bay leaf and remove. Remove the ham hock, trim away the fat, dice the meat and discard the bone. Stir the soup to blend thoroughly and return the diced ham to the pan. Add the frozen peas and keep warm while preparing the croutons.
Prepare the croutons:
Preheat the oven to 375°. Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes, sprinkle with salt and toss them to coat with the butter. Add the dill, and toss to coat again. Transfer the croutons to a baking sheet and bake until crisp and light golden, about 7 to 8 minutes. Top individual bowls of soup with the croutons just before serving. Sprinkle with a bit more fresh dill if desired.
Makes 6 servings
If you like a smooth consistency, puree the soup in a blender (or with a hand-blender) before adding the frozen peas and returning the ham to the pan.