Sage and Caramelized Onion Split Pea Soup

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I hope this post finds you surrounded by family and friends! Today I will keep it short and sweet so that you can get back to those who are near and dear. Or, wait, maybe you've hopped on the computer because you're needing a break from them, in which case, may I suggest moving on to the kitchen and caramelizing a bag of onions! There's nothing like onion vapors to keep others at bay and with caramelized onions made, you'll have the key ingredient for this lovely split pea soup! This is a meal in and of itself—a hit-the-spot bowl of warmth. Perfect after an afternoon of sledding.

Sage and Caramelized Onion Split Pea Soup

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free | Easily Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Easily Vegetarian | Easily Vegan. Lexie has made her best effort to identify possible allergens. With that said, please always read labels.

Serves:  8-10
Active Time:  40 minutes
Total Time:  2-1/2 hours

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cup CARAMELIZED ONIONS (see how-to and video at end of post)
2 tablespoons extra virgin OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon smashed GARLIC
1 tablespoon roughly chopped FRESH SAGE
1/2 teaspoon TURMERIC
1/2 teaspoon CUMIN
1/2 teaspoon CELERY SALT
1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
2 cups WATER
7 cups CHICKEN or VEGETABLE BROTH
1 pound dried green SPLIT PEAS, picked over and rinsed (soaking optional, see Notes)
2 BAY LEAVES
2 cups 1/2" cubed peeled RUSSETT POTATOES
1 cup diced CARROTS
2-3 cups cooked and cubed HAM (some of that leftover Christmas ham will work great!)

Directions:

1. In large soup pot, swirl olive oil and saute garlic and sage for 3 minutes. Add turmeric, celery salt, cumin and pepper. Saute another minute.

2. Remove pot from heat and transfer garlic/spice mixture to blender along with 1 cup caramelized onions (reserve remaining 1/2 cup onions for garnish) and 2 cups water. Puree.

3. Return puree to pot along with broth, split peas and bay leaves. Simmer on low 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until peas are tender.

4. Add potatoes and carrots. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until tender.

5. Using an immersion blender, puree to your liking. This may also be done in a blender by transferring some of the soup to a blender, pureeing and returning to the pot.

6. Add ham and heat through.

7. Season, if needed, with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves.

8. Garnish with or mix in reserved 1/2 cup caramelized onions, chopped. Kick up the heat and garnish with drops of hot sauce (like Cholulas).

Notes:

For ease of digestion, I recommend soaking split peas at room temperature for 6-8 hours in a generous amount of water and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Rinse prior to adding to soup pot.

How to Caramelize Onions

I adore caramelized onions on just about anything. Pizza, burgers, green beans, you name it. So I liked the idea of incorporating them in split pea soup. When onions are caramelized, surface sugars are released and browned. The flavor is deep, rich and slightly sweet.

For this soup recipe you will need to caramelize about 4-5 medium onions—red, white, yellow or a mixture. Throw a few shallots into the mix if you wish. Simply peel and slice onions into thin strips. Toss into a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and cook over low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Here is a video to show you how easy it really is.