After a long, busy day, this simple split pea soup is my go-to recipe for getting a healthy dinner on the table fast. The soup takes under an hour to make, with only about 15 minutes of hands on work, which gives you plenty of time to relax for a few minutes while your dinner bubbles away on the stove.
Even though I eat pretty much anything, I cook almost exclusively vegetarian, because my husband Jon does not eat meat or fish. Adding smoked Spanish paprika to this soup give it a smoky, savory flavor without the addition of ham. It tastes delicious when made with vegetable broth (or even just water if you are in a pinch), but chicken broth makes a fine substitution, too. Serve the soup with a simple side salad dressed with a lemon vinaigrette, and you’ve got yourself a light tasty supper that will keep your belly warm, something that is especially nice at this time of year.
Split Pea Soup with Smoked Paprika
You can find both dulce and picante Spanish paprika in the spice aisle of most super markets. The most common brand is El Rey de la Vera and it is sold in cute little red tins. I use both of these spices quite bit in soups and as a garnish.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot (about 2 large carrots)
1 teaspoon hot (picante) smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon sweet (dulce) smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry split green peas
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1/2 to 1 cups hot water (optional)
Pea shoots (optional garnish)
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. When it shimmers, add in the onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent (about 2 minutes). Add the carrot and cook until the onion begins to brown (about 2 more minutes). Stir in the hot and sweet paprika and salt, then add the split peas, broth and water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low. Partially cover the pot and simmer until the peas are very soft and begin to break apart, 30 to 40 minutes. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender. If necessary, whisk in hot water to thin the soup to your preferred consistency. Divide the soup between bowls, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with a pea shoot, if using.