Monday, December 20, 2010

Split Pea Soup with Kale & Andouille Sausage

If you've been following this blog since it's start, a mere month or two ago, you are probably starting to notice that we like soup in this house, a lot.  When the weather turns cold and the winter rain starts here in the Bay Area, soup becomes a weekly staple in our house.  Actually, we eat quite a bit of it in the spring, summer and fall too.  There is just something about a bowl of delicious soup that makes you feel good.  Cold soup, hot soup, it doesn't matter, soup is just plain good for the soul.  Pancho and I are avid Top Chef fans, and we've noticed that anytime someone makes a soup, they almost always end up winning that challenge.  So it's not just us, it appears that every one goes nuts for a good soup.

Tomato soup has always been my favorite.  Throw a grilled cheese sandwich on the side and I am instantly transported back to the winter weekends of my childhood, when after a morning spent playing in the snow my mom would make us grilled cheese & tomato soup before sending us back out to enjoy the winter wonderland that is New Jersey in winter.  It was awesome then, and still one of my favorite weekend lunches, even though there is no snow to be found where I now live in California.  I make a killer roasted tomato & red pepper soup that has reigned supreme at the top of my favorite soup list for quite a while, that is until this past fall, when I came across a little split pea soup recipe in Bon Appetit.

I've always liked split pea soup, and this recipe seemed simple enough, so I figured I would try it out.  There weren't many ingredients, it took like 30 minutes to make, and the recipe was so straight-forward I didn't really tweak it at all.  When it was done, it smelled pretty darn good, and looked delicious.  My husband and I sat down with a bowl of it for dinner and... it was fantastic.  So, so good.  My roasted tomato soup was dethroned, I had a new favorite.  Since discovering it in early fall I've probably made it a half dozen times and Pancho and I are still in love with it.  It's got kale & andouille sausage in it, 2 twists on the traditional recipe which give this soup great flavor and texture.  I've started keeping dried split peas in the house at all times, along with Aidell's Andouille Sausage in the freezer, so that I can make this soup at a moments notice.  Luckily we eat a lot of greens around here too, so I always seem to have some kale or mustard greens in the fridge.  That's basically it for ingredients- split peas, andouille sausage, kale & chicken broth.  So simple to make, really inexpensive, and crazy delicious.  The judges on Top Chef are right, a delicious soup is a winner!

Split Pea Soup with Kale & Andouille Sausage
1 16-ounce bag dried green split peas
1 package Aidell's Andouille Sausage
8 cups (or more) chicken broth
5 bay leaves
4 to 5 cups chopped kale (chopped into thin strips)
Salt & Pepper

  1. Cook the Split Peas with the Sausage.  Combine the split peas, the whole sausage links, 8 cups of chicken broth, and the bay leaves in a large heavy pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the peas are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
  2. Take out the Sausage & Cut Up.  Once the peas are done, remove the sausage links from the soup and place on a cutting board.  Careful, they will be very hot.  Cut the links lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half-rounds.
  3. Puree the Soup.  Remove the Bay Leaves from the soup and puree using an immersion blender.  If you don't have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender.  Puree the soup one cup at a time in your blender, and then return the pureed soup to the original pot.
  4. Add the Sausage and Greens.   Add the sliced sausage half-rounds back in to the soup pot and then add in the thinly sliced greens.  If the soup is really thick you can add more broth to thin it out to the consistency you like.  Simmer the soup until the greens soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. Serve!  Serve pipping hot with some thick crusty bread or with some croutons sprinkled on top.  Prepare for people to want seconds, it's crazy delicious. is home to the Original Recipe.  it is recopied here, almost exactly.  There are only two things I do differently- I take out the Bay Leaves before I puree the soup and rather than using a traditional blender to puree it, I just use my immersion blender right in the soup pot.  Much faster & easier than transferring to a blender and then returning the soup to the original pot, and less clean-up afterwards.  I've mentioned it before, but if you don't have an immersion blender, put one on your list for Santa this year.  It's one of the kitchen tools I just couldn't live without.

Bon Appetit!

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