Home Improvement(s)

Soup Weather

I spontaneously joined Ali on a trip to Costco (and Olive Garden) recently. While there, I picked up a bag of shelled fresh peas -- 20 oz. worth -- without a clear thought as to what I'd do with them, though split pea soup with ham was on my mind, as it usually is at this time of year, especially when we've had ham at Christmas... so why not fresh peas? I did a little searching and found this recipe for Ham & Fresh Pea Soup, which I changed very little.


1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp pesto
4 medium potatoes, peeled, roughly chopped
8 c. low-sodium chicken broth
10-12 sprigs fresh thyme tied together w/kitchen string
        I used fresh oregano because it's what was on hand;
        a blend of fresh herbs would probably work great
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
20 oz fresh or frozen baby peas
2 c. fresh spinach
3-4 c. diced ham
Feta cheese & fresh thyme for garnish, if desired
        I sprinkled some grated parmesan on top

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until hot. Add shallots & cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally; add pesto &cook, stirring constantly, for another 30 seconds.

Add chicken broth, potatoes, herbs, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil & cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Remove tied herbs & bay leaf. Add spinach & peas and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to blend to desired texture; I like my vegetables a little chunky. If a smooth texture is desired, a traditional blender would be more efficient (but work in batches & be careful because the soup is hot).

Add the ham and stir well to combine & heat. Taste & add seasonings if needed. Serve hot, garnished with cheese & fresh herbs, if desired.

>>This soup was SO GOOD! Ann & family were over for dinner last night and even the boys liked it.



Recent grocery list

I've been meaning to type up my riff on a Chicken & Rice Soup recipe for Ali. The original is from NYT Cooking (a separate subscription to which I will definitely keep if I ever unsub from the Sunday paper delivery). I made it for her & the kids and it was so easy... but I felt it needed a little (kid-friendly) improvement.


8 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken thighs
4 stalks celery, leaves reserved, stalks diced
2 carrots, diced
        My addition to this recipe -- which I did not do but definitely will in the future
3/4 c. unrinsed jasmine rice
1/2 c. fresh parsley leaves
1/2 fresh lemon, zested & juiced
        I used a little Penzey's lemon peel (powder) and juiced the lemon
        (because it's easier*)

In a large Dutch oven or pot, combine broth, chicken, celery, carrots & rice. Season lightly with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce heat & simmer until chicken is cooked through and rice starts to break down, 20-30 minutes.

Finely chop together the parsley & celery leaves.

When chicken is cooked, transfer it from the pot to a medium bowl using tongs. Using two forks, shred the chicken, the return it to the soup along with the parsley & celery leaves.

*The original recipe instructs to make a mixture from the parsley/celery leaves with lemon & garlic that is used to garnish the soup. Um, first of all, that part didn't register when I read through the recipe, and secondly, there's no way the kids would eat soup with a dollop of green stuff in it -- they balked at the sliced celery! So I just threw the chopped leaves into the soup. One thing it really needed was a little color, so I'll be adding carrots next time! And dicing the celery... so it doesn't look as much like celery!

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I saw this How to Get Unstuck quiz today and quickly skimmed it... nodding YES to every item in Question #2, and finding that so humorous that I couldn't even move on. Haha.

I hope you all have a great weekend... maybe with soup!




I love a simple dinner of soup and bread! Happy weekend, Vicki!


I'm reading this after having just finished a bowl of leftover chicken noodle soup for lunch -- the perfect thing for a cold, snowy day! I may try that pea soup recipe (just without the ham, because I don't eat pork) for something different.


Love both the soup recipes. Pea soup is near the top of my list of fav soups. I usually add ham bones to my soup for flavor. My all time fav soup is Sweet Potato Lentil Stoup - thicker than soup less than stew.
Sneaking in 'How to get unstuck' was very clever- I went down that rabbit hole and got distracted from my projects. Hope you aren't buried in snow.


Both of these recipes sound delicious, and we will be having chicken and rice soup tomorrow if I can make it to the grocery store for chicken and rice. I got stuck on the second question in how to get unstuck (too complicated for me!), so I'm just going to think about soup instead. Thanks for the recipes!


Both recipes look/sound great. I love the addition of pesto to the ham soup...I will be doing that. We had a lemon-chicken-orzo soup at Colin & Mailing's the other week that was delicious and similar to what you posted...but orzo instead of rice. And, they just used the meat from a rotisserie chicken they had bought. It was wonderful. When I roast a chicken I usually stuff the cavity with a lemon and rosemary, but had never thought to add lemon to chicken soup. The unstuck quiz had me laughing too.


I have been making a lot of soup lately. My current favorite is a Leek, basil and lemon soup. It tastes like pasta!


Growing up, if we ever cooked anything with a bay leaf, my mother would practically shriek over and over, "NEVER, EVER eat bay leaves!" A fear-of-God kind of thing that still sticks with me.


I've also been thinking about soup all week and your post is just in time to save me "for what's for dinner" tonight. The Chicken and Rice soup would be perfect and I have many of the items already. Since no children reside here we can make it with the green stuff! Thanks, Vicki!


I am thinking soup too! Thank you for sharing some inspiration!


I've been making a lot of soup lately, too! (And some bread, even.) Like you, I LOVE my NYT cooking subscription. It is my go-to for cooking lately, and has some really great recipes (and jumping-off points for my own experimentation). Okay. AND THAT QUIZ!!! :-)

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