I grew up in Rochester, NY (where I currently still reside), but I went to Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI for my undergraduate degree. Both of these locations are cold and snowy all winter long. And winter lasts a long, long time too. Snow in April? Yup, it happens. I remember putting on long underwear, leggings, and jeans to walk to class. Schools almost never close. I decided to look up how many times MSU has ever closed: 5. Three times for overnight snowfall that was over two feet, once for 15 inches in April, and the final one because it was 18 degrees below zero, with a windchill of 51 below zero.
The point I’m trying to make is that I’m used to the cold and snow. But this winter is really too much. It seems like other years we have had a few more “breaks” in the weather–you know, a warm-up into the 30s for a day or so. Not this winter. It’s been a steady stream of snow, near-zero temps and oh yeah, more snow for months now. One of my friends (and fellow Spartan alumnus) who lives outside Boston said on social media, “You know it’s been one too many snowstorms when you forgo the traditional comfort food in lieu of tofu veggie stir fry. #nomoremacncheese #toomuchstew #ineedveggies“. I totally understand. That’s why I love this soup. It is a big bowl of veggies that is also a comforting bowl of warm soup. You have to plan ahead a little (soaking peas overnight, full day in the slow cooker), but you barely have to lift a finger to make it. So you can cuddle up on the couch all day bingeing on Netflix and dinner is ready when you are.
Split Pea Soup (my parents’ recipe with a few modifications I picked up from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)
- 1 pound split green peas
- 1 (1/2 pound) ham steak, cut into cubes (optional, see Note below)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 small onion (or 1/2 a medium onion), peeled and diced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- salt & pepper
- Put the peas in a slow cooker. Add water so that the peas are completely covered (about 1/2 inch of water over the top). Cover. Let the peas soak unrefrigerated overnight (or at least 8 hours).
- Add the thyme, ham, carrots, and onion to the slow cooker. Add just enough water to cover the peas and stir. Cover and cook on high for 10-12 hours.
- Stir in the lemon juice and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Time: 10 minutes prep, 8 hours soaking and 10 hours cooking
Note: You can leave out the ham and have a very tasty vegetarian soup.