Last Friday, we had what's turned out to be one of the small handfuls of sizable snowfalls this winter in Milwaukee. It's just been a a crazy, mild winter. So, before last weekend, any thick stews, soups or other wintertime comfort foods haven't been necessary to make it through a cold day.
The snow and chilly temps stuck around all weekend, but the forecast showed it would warm quickly soon after, so we jumped on the chance to make a thick, hearty soup for the first and, probably, last time this winter.
Eric's all-time favorite soup is pea soup. Especially a thick pea soup with ham. Some people turn their noses up at pea soup because of its strange green-brown color, but it's completely delicious, and just thick enough (if you make it right!) to be the perfect winter warm-up meal.
And if you make it the way he did last weekend, it's loaded with enough goodies to fill you up after eating half a bowl.
Eric braved the snow outside and made the pilgrimage to the corner market, a full 40 yards from our house, just to retrieve his bounty of veggies and meat that would make up this soup-stew. When he came home, he presented me with a $10 cut of Neuske's smoked ham, already salivating at the thought of his creation.
Then, he went to work in the kitchen, cutting veggies and ham like a mad man. He filled a large pot with water, split peas, ham, sweet potatoes, onions, baby red potatoes, maybe some mushrooms? I can't even remember. This pot was loaded.
Then, he let all those goodies simmer in the pot for a good three hours, emerging from the basement (away from his beloved, brand-new foosball table - more on that later) to stir every half hour or so. That's all he did - easy, PEAS-y (ugh, that was horrible. Forgive me).
The end result?
Looks like barf.
Especially when paired with Triscuit Garden Herb crackers.
Please, don't sleep on the Triscuits.
This is an incredibly thick, incredibly filling soup-stew. Not that I ever stepped foot outside of the house Sunday, but if I had ventured out into the snow instead of parking on the couch watching back-to-back-to-back episodes of "Four Weddings," this would have been the perfect meal to come home to. Warm, hearty and perfect for that last cold day of winter.
I'd say make this Loaded Pea Soup-Stew today, but if where you live is anything like Milwaukee right now, it's 60+ degrees and you're probably leaning more toward a cool salad and a crisp lemonade.
That snow outside the window in the picture above? That's completely gone now. But if it ever gets cold again, please make this soup-stew. Even if you thought you'd never touch the icky green soup, I'm sure you'd have a happy tummy after a spoonful or two of this stuff!