January 02, 2013

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Turkey Sausage

16 oz dried split peas
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cubed rutabega
6 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
14 oz smoked turkey sausage, cubed
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
1 1/2 cup (loose) coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley

Place the split peas, stock, vegetables, herbs and spices in a 4 quart slow cooker. Cook on low 10-12 hours. 15-30 minutes prior to serving, brown the sausage on both sides in a nonstick skillet. Stir the sausage and parsley into the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 15-30 additional minutes.

My thoughts:
I didn't eat split pea soup growing up but as an adult, I've developed a certain fondness. It is dead simple to make in the slow cooker which, I admit, is a bit of the appeal. It cooks for a long period of time, making it perfect for long work days and split peas don't need to be soaked or parboiled which pleases me. It is also an extremely thrifty meal. The split peas were under $2 and the sausage was snagged during a 2 for $5 sale. The vegetables are cheap and ones I happened to have to hand so the price was negligible there too. The trick is varying the soup so one doesn't become deadly bored with it and decide never to eat it again. This time I used some yummy smoked turkey sausage and some fresh thyme I had leftover from another recipe and the results were lovely. The parsley at the end really gave it a boost of fresh flavor. I know browning the sausage is a bit of a bother but I think the flavor is better and you could brown it the night before and cool then refrigerate it if you'd like. It is just such a wholesome, warming meal on a January evening.