Sauteing onion mellows the flavor without depleting its rich stores of quercetin, an antioxidant and potent anti-inflammatory. The little secret behind this soup's big, smoky flavor: just a touch of ham steak.
Martha Stewart Living, February 2009
- 8 black peppercorns, cracked
- 3 sprigs thyme, plus more, chopped, for garnish
- 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, plus more, chopped, for garnish
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons safflower oil
- 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
- 1 ham steak (7 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 pound split peas
- 8 cups water, plus more if needed
- Wrap peppercorns, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth, then tie with kitchen twine.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 9 minutes. Add garlic, ham, and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook for 3 minutes. Add bouquet garni, split peas, and water.
- Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas are completely tender and begin to fall apart, 50 to 55 minutes. Discard bouquet garni. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and garnish with fresh herbs. (Soup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days. Warm over low heat, and thin with water to desired consistency if necessary.)
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