split pea soup

In the past when I've been documenting our Downton Abbey dinners I've tried to stick with writing in the order that we ate.

But this week, we started eating with split pea soup. 

It's not exciting. It's not sexy. 

Split pea soup is great but it's not a conversation starter. It's a sidebar. Nobody says "MAN, have you heard about that place's split pea soup?" Nope, instead people talk about rolls, centerpieces, napkins, and bathroom decor. 

But I don't want to take away from this soup. It's not bad, it just belongs with a meal ... not a standalone. Thankfully in this case, it had a meal and two happy faces ready to eat it. Additionally, it was crazy easy to make. As you can see in the ingredients list, there are 7 ingredients. That's simple. 

For this meal, I paired it with some haddock but given that I have 3 rounds of leftovers ... I'll need to pair this with something else as well. I think this soup would also be great with some hearty but soft croutons, maybe some grilled chicken, or perhaps a puff pastry crust. I happen to have access to all of those in my kitchen so I might try all of them.

But you do what you want.

(Step 1) Add olive oil to a big pot over med-high heat. Stir in onions and salt and cook until the onions soften, just a minute or two. 

(Step 2) Add the split peas and water. Bring to a boil, dial down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through (but still a touch al dente). 
(Step 3) Using a hand blender (or regular blender) puree half the soup that is in the pot. A completely blended soup would be baby food. You don't want that. Stir the reserved (still chunky) soup back into the puree - you should have a soup that is nicely textured. 
(Step 4) If you need to thin the soup out with more water (or stock) do so a bit at a time. I ended up adding about a cup of water at this point. 

(Step 5) Stir in the lemon juice and taste. If the soup needs more salt, add it. I did.

(Step 6) Serve drizzled with olive oil and topped with a good pinch of smoked paprika and a touch of lemon zest. I also added some shaved parmesan.

Shopping List
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups dried split green peas, picked over and rinsed
5 cups water
1 bouillon cube
juice of 1/2 lemon
a few pinches of smoked paprika
more olive oil to drizzle

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