Split pea may possibly be my absolute favorite winter food. The leaves fall, the rain comes, and it’s time for a big bowl of green goodness. In the past, I’ve made it in the crockpot, but sometimes it ends up tasting a little overcooked—especially if bacon is involved. This version, in the pressure cooker, will definitely be my new standard. You cook the peas and vegetables in two separate steps to avoid a big pile o’ mush. But be careful: unless you have an enormous pressure cooker, you’ll need to cover the split peas so as to avoid blowing a hole in your ceiling. Trust me on this one.
A note on meat vs. non-meat: I like my pork. Sometimes I throw in a ham end. Sometimes I use bacon. Sometimes I use bacon fat. And sometimes, I make it vegan. What you do is up to do.
Split Pea Soup in the Pressure Cooker
2 c. dried split peas
1 T. bacon fat or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium or 1 large carrot, chopped
1 medium turnip, chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, chopped
a few sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
1. Put the split peas with 4 c. water in a covered heat-proof bowl on the steamer rack in your pressure cooker. If you don’t have an appropriate bowl with a lid, just use a small mixing bowl covered with foil. (See pictures of this technique on this post on barley in the pressure cooker.) Add 1 c. water to the pressure cooker to create steam. Cover and lock the lid. Cook at 15 pounds pressure for 10 minutes.
2. Release the pressure and take the bowl out of the pressure cooker. Drain the liquid at the bottom of the pressure cooker, but keep the liquid in the split pea bowl. Set it aside.
3. Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in your chosen fat. I let mine get fairly brown. If you want to save time, do this in a separate pan while the split peas cook; if you want to save dishes, wait, and fry them up in the pressure cooker itself once you’ve taken out the bowl.
4. Combine the onions, the split peas and their liquid, the thyme, and all the vegetables in the pressure cooker. Add another cup of water or so. Close and lock the lid. Bring to pressure and cook for 3 mintes. Let the pressure drop of its own accord, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Variations: It’s soup. It’s mean to be flexible. Add or subtract soup vegetables as desired.