Truly one of the more popular winter and spring soups throughout Europe and especially popular in England during the Edwardian era, is the classic split pea soup. Whereas most homes made the soup with the classic green split peas, those who had the money and the power preferred the more exotic yellow split peas. There really is not much difference in taste and texture but it does look more regal upon presentation.
This is a very simple soup to make at home. You can use any type of smoked sausage. If sausage is not to your liking, you can also use a thick-cut of smoked bacon.
For more on the food of Downton Abbey, visit the free Facebook page called The Food of Downton Abbey!
Ingredients needed to make Yellow Split Pea Soup with Smoked Sausage (serves 4 as an entree):
- 16 oz. yellow split peas
- 7 cups chicken stock
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 shallots, minced
- 2 green bell pepper,diced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 oz. smoked sausage, chopped
- Carefully pick over the split peas to remove any stones (yes, you will find little stones in a bag of split peas).
- In a medium pot over medium heat, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the yellow split peas, lower the heat to a simmer and cook the split peas until softened (about an hour).
- In a medium saute pan or skillet, brown the smoked sausage. Remove the sausage and set aside.
- Into the saute pan add the carrots, shallots and bell pepper and saute 5 minutes (add olive oil if the sausage did not render enough fat).
- Remove the sauteed vegetables from the pan and set aside.
- About 10 minutes before the peas are done, add the sauteed vegetables to the soup.
- Once the split peas have softened, puree them (with the cooking liquid) in a food processor. It is best to do this in 1-cups batches.
- Place the pureed soup back into the pot over medium heat.
- Into the soup stir in the heavy cream and the smoked sausage. Heat the soup just until it begins to simmer.
- Ladle into bowls and serve.
The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.