Winter pea soup Winter pea soup Israeli Kitchen Photo: Miriam Kresh

Winter pea soup with sausages

Warm body and soul with this rich, thickly textured pea soup.

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  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

This is one of my favorite all-time soups, a cold-weather treat. It’s rich, it’s fragrant, it’s filling. An honest, stick-to-the-ribs dish. I love spooning up those lovely chunks of sausage, and the feeling of eating a whole meal out of one bowl.

This recipe includes a tomato, which I haven’t seen in standard pea soup recipes. In Israel, you can get tomatoes any time of the year, even during the winter, when we grow them in greenhouses to make sure we don’t run out. Tomatoes should be Israel’s national fruit. We use them in a thousand ways to brighten food with that sweet/acidic flavor. Their sharp note really does lift what might be a bland pottage into something much more interesting.

Here’s a good thing to know: canned tomatoes also work very well in this soup. If you’re out of fresh tomatoes, reach for the canned and use 1 whole one or 4 tablespoons diced. You’ll have to taste the soup about half an hour into the cooking time to judge whether to add more – or not.

Now, for the sausages: I favor the fiery, local, all-beef chorizos. But you can substitute any other sausage you like. Even plain hot dogs taste good in pea soup, although I do encourage you to venture into chorizo or kielbasa. The main thing is to cook the sausage before you add it to the soup.

My family likes me to blend pea soup, leaving it just a little rough. I use a stick blender. It allows me to work with the soup safely while it’s still hot, and have no bother of transferring it to and from the standing blender. When I was a young bride with few kitchen appliances, I used to take the potato masher and work it up and down the soup until it was thick. I’d still do that if my stick blender gave out. You may chose to not blend, which yields a richly textured soup. Either way, it’s delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound sausages
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cups split peas
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and tomato. Cook over medium heat, stirring, 10 minutes.

Add split peas, water, marjoram and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Simmer an hour and a half, until the peas have exploded and the soup thickens slightly when stirred.

While the soup is cooking, prepare the sausages. Fry them in a heavy, dry skillet over medium heat. They will release fat. If they’re linked together, wait until they’re cooked enough to hold their shape, and then cut through the links. When they’re firm and a golden brown – about 10 minutes – set them on paper towels to drain.

When you’re satisfied that the soup is done, remove it from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Let the soup cool somewhat, then blend it.

Slice the sausages into thick rounds and stir them into the soup. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired. Cook one more minute, and serve steaming hot.

Related Topics: Meat and Poultry, Soups

Recipes from the Israeli KitchenRecipes from the Israeli Kitchen
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