I spent the first 24-ish years of my life refusing to eat split-pea soup. I was afraid. Very, very afraid. My mom would always try to convince me how good it was, but I was stubborn and put my foot down. “Woman. I will drink your refrigerated red wine,” I’d say, “But I will never eat your split pea soup.” Then, I’d go on and eat my peanut butter and banana sandwich, because, you know, THAT wasn’t weird. But, let’s just face it. Split-pea soup just looks like.. well, it looks like something that rhymes with soup. And that is disgusting.
However, I eventually caved. I tried some. And…. I thought it was delicious. My mom was thrilled and would send ice cream buckets full of the soup (because this is how we transport large quantities of soup – and also, watermelon – in my family) back with me to Lincoln. I would live off of split-pea soup for the next week until I went home and Mom would make more and send it back with me. It was amazing. It also helped that she’d regularly send me back an economy-sized package of toilet paper. Because, you know, The Fiber.
THEN, about a year ago (November 1, to be exact) my sister, Greta, moved back to Lincoln. One night she invited me over to her house (now OUR house) to go on a run and eat some soup. She had made the most delicious split-pea soup in the Crock-Pot. I’m not kidding you. After just one spoonful of the stuff, I finally knew what it felt like to be in love (no offense to Paul Walker). It was just a little bit sweet and the right kind of salty. True story: When my Uncle Jerry was so sick from the cancer and the chemo and couldn’t really eat anything, he wanted to eat Greta’s soup.
The secret: Apples.
This soup has become somewhat of a staple in our house. Last year, during Crock Pot Season (from here-on-out, “CPS”), my sister made this recipe a lot. This year, at the beginning of CPS, I tried it and it turned out horribly. The peas somehow didn’t cook all the way through. Not only did it look like something that rhymes with soup, it also tasted like it. However, Greta encouraged me not to give up. I too would achieve Crock Pot greatness. So, the next week I got the ol’ slow cooker out and tried it again. And it was great! And I was so happy!
The recipe was adapted from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester. This cookbook is amazing. It has so many great recipes. Or, at least, so many great-looking recipes that I have stuck a post-it on and will undoubtedly make in the near future. Near-ish future. We’re really not vegan in this house, so we usually just use regular chicken bouillon instead of the vegan stuff. Also, we have been known to use one cup of split peas and one cup of lentils if we’re running out of peas (which we refer to as Splentil soup) and it still tastes great.
Split Pea and Apple Soup
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 medium-size carrots, chopped
- 1 medium-size apple, peeled if not organic, cored, and chopped
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoons chicken boullion
- 2 cups split peas
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 sprig of fresh
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus extra for drizzling
Put all the ingredients, EXCEPT the balsamic vinegar, in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Be sure to remove the bay leaf and sprig of thyme (if you use fresh thyme). We don’t have any scientific proof of the cause, but one time we didn’t remove the bay leaf and weird stuff happened to me.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Then, puree the soup with an immersion blender. (This will get messy, so beware.) You could also blend it in batches with a regular, counter-top blender.
Adjust the seasonings to your preference, drizzle with a few drops of extra balsamic (I usually make a smiley face), and enjoy!
Yield: 4 servings
Total Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 6 to 8 hours