Even here in Arizona, the weather has been cool. After the initial monsoon, it has been sunny with temps in the low 60s during the day and about 40 at night. But we are also going to be hit with the cold snap that a good portion of the rest of the country is experiencing. So, what is good on a cool/cold night – a nice hot and hearty soup.
Just as I have been cooking, Gary has had the urge as well and he is the soup maker of the family. He made another batch of his chili that we entered in the chili cookoff back at the Escapade in Wyoming in early July. But he also had a hankering to make a soup he never had made before – split pea. Just for the record, I detest split pea soup, especially that thick pasty stuff that a lot of places serve. So this batch of soup was one just for the pleasure of Gary. And as long as he was making a soup just for himself, why not fortify it with another food product that he loves but I hate – SPAM.
So, if you are looking for a recipe for a Spicy Split Pea and SPAM soup, here you go:
One pound package of dried split peas (that I had to chase 2 stores to find)
32 ounces of vegetable stock (a.k.a. a quart)
32 ounces of water (a.k.a. 4 cups or 2 pints)
1 cup carrot diced (or whatever cut suits your fancy)
1 cut celery diced (see above)
1 medium to large onion diced (see above)
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
1 12-oz can SPAM diced (Gary used Tabasco SPAM which gave a spicy kick to the soup, but you can use any kind of SPAM that you would prefer, or to make it somewhat more palatable, you could use the traditional ham with or without a bone or hock)
Put peas in a stock pot and sort (there was some chaff in our bag so he had to sort the peas from the chaff). Add vegetable stock and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, cover, and set aside for an hour.
Dice the carrots, celery, onion, and the God-awful SPAM.
About 45 minutes into the soak, heat a large skillet and melt about 3 tablespoons of butter (of course Gary used bacon grease instead just as he does for darn near anything he puts in a skillet). Progressively add in the onions, carrots, celery, minced garlic and SPAM into the skillet and get to browning.
Add the skillet mix to the stock pot and season with the thyme, black pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil and simmer for about two hours or until peas are the consistency you like. We suppose you could get out your “motor boat” and puree the whole morass into a thick pulp if you wanted.
There you have it – split pea and SPAM soup. Gary loved it. He ate two bowls for lunch and another for dinner. I tasted one spoonful while it was cooking and still am gagging. Split is one thing. And SPAM is quite another. But, my God, split peas and SPAM together?
To the right is a picture of the finished product. You really can’t see the peas for all the celery and SPAM floating on the top, but they are down in there somewhere (wouldn’t you think the peas would float and the SPAM would sink?)