Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pea Soup (with ham if you want) Pressure Cooker Style



My name is Tracy, I'm a soup addict.  I'm a pressure cooker addict.  I make a enormous pots of soup for pennies. I eat my body weight in soup regularly.  This is one of the ones I truly love. I love it so much, I'd marry it.  
You can only love yours as much if you use bacon, fry in fat and leave it in and then, and only then, will you love yours as much as I love mine.  
Sure, you can skinny it down and use fake bacon and no oil or butter...but really, WHY??  Make the real stuff, just eat less of it (hahaha  like I can eat less of this).  It's that good.
It's rich and thick and tasty and pretty healthy (by accident) and it freezes well so you can double, triple or quad the amounts depending on how big your freezer is.
Tracy's Pressure Cooker Pea Soup
1 small ham steak (!)
a few slices of bacon
1 onion, chopped fine
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
4-5 cups stock, vegetable or chicken or just plain ole' water
2 cups picked green split peas (that's a bag)
a bayleaf and a little thyme if you have it
salt and pepper
Fry the bacon till it's pretty crispy, remove it but leave the fat!  Throw in your ham steak and fry it around a bit.  You can cut it up (I cut it into 4) or leave it whole and deal with it later.  When your ham steak looks happy, take it out and throw in the onion, carrot and celery and fry that up for a bit.  Don't brown it but soften it.  You can add butter if you had skinny bacon and need a little extra fat. (the richness adds to the background flavor of the soup) 
When the vegetables are tender, add the bacon, ham, split peas and the stock.  Add a bayleaf  (and any herb that strikes your fancy) and some pepper.  
Lock and load.  High pressure. 12 minutes. 
You can either quick release the unit OR you can forget about it like I did and open it completely pressure and steam free.  Remove the ham steak and deal with it.  Leave it whole or shred it or cut it into cubes so you can divide it amongst the bowls, your choice.
This is the time to add salt and pepper.  Taste and season to your liking.
You have two options here.  Some people like the soup with the peas whole, some are blended fans.  If you choose to blend the soup, do it in small batches in a blender.  A food processor will give you a different, less creamy texture.  You can also shove a stick blender in and blend some of it to give you the thickness you want and still maintain the integrity of the peas.  Oh look how chef-y I sounded there.  I tend to stick blender it slightly more than half way.
 When you blend it, the soup will thicken considerably so be prepared to add stock or water.  I freeze the soup when it's super thick (I need less containers that way) and then I just have to toss it in the microwave or on the stove and thin with stock or water and serve immediately. 
Serve this with large, thick, crunchy croutons and crispy bacon on top.  
Croutons
Fry 3 slices of bacon until crispy in a large, wide, frying pan. Remove the bacon and add 4 Tsp olive oil and a garlic clove, squashed, to the pan.  Cut homemade, or thick cut, bread into cubes at least 1 inch square.
When the oil is hot, add the bread cubes and quickly toss them to coat. Fry/toast the bread until darkly golden brown.  Remove the garlic clove and discard and mix in the crispy bacon.  Serve on top of the soup with a salad on the side or just in a big mug on the couch with your favorite movie. Either way, it's a wallet friendly, rib sticking meal and it'll keep on giving right out of the freezer for the rest of the season.
BEAUTY, COMMENTARY and PLAY BY PLAY SHOTS
My Nesco has a brown feature.  Look at me browning! This is one carrot one stalk and one onion, very nice knife skills! This bag of peas was on sale at HEB for .50 or something ridiculous. Good, real, slow motion food can be VERY inexpensive!  This is also just as good with no ham steak.  You can also use a turkey leg or a smoked leg or hock or none.  It's FLEXIBLE! 
  

Bacon done and out, here's my ham steak, I do cut the edges so it won't curl. Look at that yumminess all browned up.  I leave the flavor that the bacon and the ham left behind.
  

Time for the veggies, into the pot!  Shush 'em around till they get wilty.
  

Time for the picked peas!  Pick them because I found a few rocks in this batch. Toss the peas around with the veggies.
  

Add the steak, cut into 4 and the bacon back to the pot and stir it around.  This is gonna be good! I had stock in the fridge from some bones I roasted so into the pot with you!  This is also crazy good with just water so don't fret if you're stock-less. I add liquid to the 6 cup mark on my machine.
  

Add a bayleaf and lock and load! 12 minutes!
 
DING
See how much patience I have?  Opening the pressure manually. I love the big reveal.  TADA! Oooooooh
  


It's cooked to death, thick and unctuous and delicious and full of goodness! I remove the ham steak and bay leaf and since I am eating it right away, I added a little water.
  

I have a Braun stick blender.  WHIRRRRRRR!  Oh it gets creamy and velvetty.  Just a minute to do.
  

In my sample bowl.  OPTIONS:  You can eat it plain.  OR with some of the ham cut into cute little squares OR with gigantic ciabatta garlic croutons.  I ate it every way.  For science.  Then I ate some more.
  

All gone.  I won't confess to how many bowls full I had.  The rest is safely in containers ready to go into the freezer to be available at my whim. It's good to be me today.



Make yourself some pressure cooker green pea and ham soup,  It's one of the joys of life.


/enjoy

1 comment:

  1. My most difficult decision today: Which one of Tracy's pea soup recipes should I make? The pressure cooker Split Pea with Ham, the yellow split pea with ham (sub green peas), or the other green split pea soup recipe? Fortunately, they are almost all identical so it is not an issue. What is an issue is whether or not to use bacon and ham...hm....yep. Thanks, Tracy. Dinner in about 30 minutes as soup is cooking!

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