Not my mother’s split pea soup

It is a grey day in Millbrook today. Gisli, our 7-year-old Icelandic sheepdog, took off this morning to consume rotting carcasses in the woods and ignored me while I stood on the deck screaming his name over and over again into the wind. Eventually he’d make it back smelling like Yuck. But I wanted to go to yoga to shake off my already dark moody Sunday blues. This canine f*7k you caused an escalation to my mood’s darkness.

Dean suggested split pea soup. It is a green color which is a good contrast to the grey outside, so I agreed to make it. An added bonus was using the chukkar stock I made yesterday. Chances are you don’t have chukkar stock and for some reason this made me feel better. I have something other people don’t have. I realize I’ll suffer for my obnoxious self-centeredness later, but at that moment it made me feel better.


  • 1 1/2 c split peas
  • 2 quarts chukkar-vegetable stock* (in the most likely scenario that you do not have chukkar stock, you can use chicken stock)
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery finely chopped
  • 1/3 c. small diced kolbasà, Ukrainian salami (bacon or pancetta are fine too)
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • few grinds white pepper, or to taste
  • salt
  • butter/olive oil

Over medium heat bring stock to a boil and turn off. Meanwhile melt 1T butter in a medium sized pot over medium heat and saute the onion for 3 minutes. Add celery and a couple pinches of salt and saute another 3 minutes. Add kolbasà or what ever pork product you’ve selected to use and saute for another 3 minutes. Add peas stirring to combine and add 4 c. stock. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered stirring occasionally for an hour or so, adding more stock as needed to keep things bubbling along.

Add thyme, white pepper, salt and taste.

Wash, peel and cut potato into a small dice and add to the pot. Cook stirring often for another 20 minutes. Add liquid and adjust the seasonings.

Serve with crusty peasant bread or buttery croutons.

What is a chukkar?

A small tasty bird shot by people who like to shoot things in game preserves. Most of the time those (mostly) men don’t eat what they shoot, so the preserve has lots of birds in the freezer. I roast and eat them… that is a superfast meal because the little bird only takes 20 minutes to roast to perfection. A post for that will come later.

Makes one quart

  • 3-4 chukkar carcasses
  • 1 carrot cut into several pieces
  • 2 celery cut into several pieces
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • clove garlic
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • bay leaf
  • 6 cups water to cover everything

Put the carcasses, onion, garlic, celery, carrot into 2 quart pot, add cold water and bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer, add peppercorns, star anise, bay leaf. Simmer uncovered for 3 hours. Check stock periodically and you may need to add a cup or two of boiling water to keep the water level up.

Remove from heat. Let cool slightly and strain through cheese cloth. If not using in the next 24 hours, freeze it.

2 thoughts on “Not my mother’s split pea soup”

  1. So, it’s not your mother’s because she was operating in a chukkar-free zone?

    Or was it something else? (Potato’s a nice touch, btw.)

  2. My mother’s recipe was off the back of the split pea bag, pretty much how most Americans made this particular soup.

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