Happy MLK Day, friends!
Something I hated as a child, but now love as an adult, is split pea soup (and brussels sprouts, but that's another story for another day). But, more specifically, I love "HamPeas" brand split pea soup....yep, the one that comes with the glorious ham packet. Mmm...ham packet.
I generally follow the instructions on the HamPeas bag, with the following exceptions:
- I sweat my veggies in the butter first, instead of dumping all of the ingredients in the bath water at once.
- I sometimes sneak in a little chicken stock in place of some of the water.
- Garlic is always invited (and lots of it!)
- I like to get a little crazy with the toppings....usually crispy shallots are must. Today I also added crispy prosciutto.
- And ham.....Ham packet and real ham go hand in hand!
Once my onions and garlic have been sufficiently sweated, I add my rinsed peas to the party and let them get happy with the other veggies and butter for a minute or so. Aren't they beee-you-tiful?
Next the water / chicken stock is added, per the instructions on the bag. From there on out, I stick to the bag directions.
While the soup is simmering away, I get shallot and prosciutto slices frying at a very low heat in vegetable oil and butter. This takes about 30 minutes, so be patient. I eyeballed about 3 parts vegetable oil to one part butter, based on the amount of shallots and prosciutto I planned to fry. Heat the oil at a low heat until it is very hot, add your items and let them fry gently until they are golden brown. Drain them on a paper towel (they will crisp up even more at this point).
Just before my soup was done, I sliced a baguette and charred the bread over one of my stove burners. This was my first time trying this. I think I need to keep working on my technique. :)
Before serving, I gave the soup a few buzzes with my hand blender to smooth it out a bit more, but keeping some of the hearty, chunkiness. I added ham that I had cubed up and let the soup simmer for a few minutes to warm the ham.
I added a tablespoon of butter to the soup just before serving (did I mention I am SUCH a healthy cook? Ha!).
Ta da!! Split pea soup with charred bread and crispy shallots and prosciutto! If I had some heavy cream I would have added a drizzle to each bowl to finish them.
Hope this inspires you to add some flair to classic dishes!