The Best Split Pea Soup in Chicago

There’s not a lot I like about winter in Chicago, but I do enjoy making split pea soup.

The best split pea soup has a dense texture and a delicious, slightly smoky flavor that will warm up even the coldest winter night. Although we’ve been lucky so far this year in terms of very little snow, it has been quite cold.

This recipe is a little different than how I’ve made it in the past. This soup includes red lentils and sweet potatoes in addition to the green split peas. That accounts for the lighter color.

The recipe also included a lot of liquid, more than I would normally use. Perhaps it was because I found it in a Weight Watchers crock pot cookbook. But the texture ended up being lighter than normal split pea, which I found delightfully refreshing.

It was super easy to make in the crock pot. Plus it is low-fat because it is made with smoked turkey leg rather than ham, a ham hock or  a peice of salt pork. The turkey leg created just the right smoky flavor but without any of the fat and less salt as well.

The turkey leg I used had been smoked and cut into cross-sections, which resulted in a lot of tiny pin bones that I had to pick through. But the extra work was worth the effort because of the added health benefits of this soup.

The result was one of the best split pea soups I’ve ever had. It tasted exactly like split pea soup, but it was much lighter. I’ve had split pea soups before that you could use to spackle a wall. Not this one. It was just creamy enough.

It was also very inexpensive to make. The most expensive ingredient was the smoked turkey drumstick and that was only about $1.50/lb.

Low-Fat Split Pea Soup

48 ounces reduced fat, low sodium chicken stock

2 cups water

1 cup dried green split peas

1 cup dried red lentils

2 carrots, peeled, medium dice

2 celery stalks, leafs included, medium dice

1 white onion, medium dice

1 sweet potato, peeled, medium dice

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 TBS curry powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 smoked turkey drumstick

1. In crock pot, combine broth, water, split peas, lentils, carrots, onion, celery, sweet potato, curry powder and salt. Add turkey, pressing it down into the mixture. Cover and cook on high for four to five hours or on low for eight to ten hours.

2. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove turkey leg and set on plate to cool about 15 minutes. Using a fork (okay, I used my hands) carefully pick through the turkey meat to remove any bones. I found quite a few pin bones in the leg I used. Discard skin and bones, then pull remaining meat into pieces and return to pot.

A spicy crouton would go great with this soup. Simply cut some day old bread, any kind, into 1/2 squares, then toss it in a mixing bowl with a little extra virgin olive oil and a few shakes of cayenne pepper. Lay them out on a sheet pan and bake at 300F for about 15 minutes or until crisp. Cool then store in a sealable plastic bag or airtight container until ready to use. These will stay fresh for about a week.

This recipe makes a fairly large batch of soup, so be prepared to have split pea soup for a few days. Like most soups, it tastes better the second day!

What recipes do you like to make to warm up cold winter nights? Share your ideas in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!


2 thoughts on “The Best Split Pea Soup in Chicago

  1. Can’t wait to try this. I love many of the weight watchers recipes but usually change them up a bit to suit our taste. Love coming home to the smell of food in the crockpot.

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