What Is A Split-Pea?

Until just an few years ago, I thought that split-pea soup was made with regular green peas that had been… split. I didn’t give much thought to how they were split; maybe they were mashed up, maybe they just split when they got cooked in the soup. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is a specific legume known as the split-pea. I found a bag of them at my local bodega; dried they resemble lentils, and like lentils they are a great source of protein. Also, like lentils, they’re small and flat enough that they don’t require any soaking before cooking. The other night I made a pot of simple split-pea and vegetable soup. Here’s how I did it:

In a large pot I put a cup of dried split-peas and covered them with about 4 cups of water. I covered the pot abnd brought it to a boil. When it came to a boil I lowered the heat to a simmer and removed the lid. The directions on the package of split-peas said they needed to cook for about an hour, so I set a timer. Meanwhile I prepared the vegetables: carrots, celery root, onions, celery, parsnips, and cabbage; I chopped them into rough chunks. I also chopped up some dill and some parsley. After the split-peas had cooked for about half an hour I added the vegetables to the pot, along with a splash of olive oil, some salt, and some black pepper. I cooked it all together for the last half hour. During the cooking process the split-peas break down a bit, adding adding the signature color, texture, and flavor to the broth.

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