When it gets cold, all I can think of making is a nice pot of warm and delicious soup. Soup is so comforting to me. One member of a Guyanese group I follow on Facebook, asked if anyone else had soup for dinner on Sundays while growing up in Guyana. The response was overwhelmingly “yes” and apparently soup on Sundays was/is a Guyanese culinary tradition. The similarities in the types of soup and the side dishes served with the soup were just heart warming. We have a strong food culture and it was still alive in some of the stories members of the group shared. I don’t reserve soup for Sunday night dinners. Actually, since it is football season Sunday nights are more chicken wings and pizza night! I have soup anytime I feel like it and this soup is a good base for many soup concoctions. To mix it up a bit, I just switch up some of the vegetables, add or take away dumplings (Guyanese style or Asian style), add some root vegetables and change the type of bread I serve it with. I swear, every time I make it, it’s a completely different soup. The ingredients are simple and so is the method, but it does take some time, to simmer it down into a thick mouth watering broth!
Now for the recipe…
Chicken and Split Peas Soup (4 generous servings)
1 cup of yellow split peas and about 8 cups water for cooking
2 lbs chicken thighs (skinless, bone-in)
1 lb potatoes
3 sticks of celery hearts, diced.
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic,finely chopped
1/4 cup of fresh thyme (stems removed)
1 wiri wiri pepper
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp salt
8 additional cups of water for the broth.
In a large stock pot combine split peas with 8 cups of water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until split peas is really tender (crushes easily with the back of a spoon). Cut chicken thighs into 2 inch chunks. Peel and dice potatoes and carrots into 1 inch pieces. Once the split peas are tender, add chicken thighs, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, pepper and bouillon cubes. Then, add about 8 cups of water. Stir until all the ingredients are combined. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender and a thick broth forms (about 30 to 45 minutes). Remove from heat and serve hot.
Tips and Ramblings:
1. This is like a chicken and vegetable soup with a split peas base or in a split peas broth. Maybe that’s what I should have titled this post, sounds more fancy actually!
2. You could add noodles instead of potatoes to this soup.
3. You could add plantains, cassava and sweet potatoes for a more hearty soup, and even a dumpling or two.
4. I sometimes let this soup cook down, until the potatoes have melted away for a really thick broth. It’s so yummy.
5. I cook the soup with the pepper whole, because it gives lots of flavor without the heat. I serve my husband the pepper, which he cuts open for a really spicy version of this soup!