Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yellow Pea Soup with Croutons

This is my mom’s favorite soup. For some reason, growing up I was not particularly fond of it. What was I thinking? Now, of course, I love it.

I have to say that in general, Russians eat soups more often than Americans do. It is not unusual for the soup to be the only dish that is served at a meal, especially for casual meals at home, such as supper. In theory, a proper, well rounded meal is expected to include the first course (soup), second course (some sort of protein such as beef or pork cutlets, chicken or fish) and the third course, which is usually hot tea with something sweet.

In reality, however, rarely does anyone have the time these days to serve a three course meal, especially on weekdays, so more often than not soup is what you will see on the dinner table.

I bought yellow peas at the Russian grocery store here in Houston, but they can also be found in a well-stocked supermarket, often in a health food section. I find that smoked ham or pork works best in this recipe; however, you can substitute it for chicken broth.

Yellow Pea Soup with Croutons

Serves 6

3 strips bacon, diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 smoked ham bone or smoked pork shoulder
1 1/2 cups yellow peas
4 bay leaves
salt to taste
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces

In an electric kettle or a medium pot, bring to boil 8 cups of water.

Sauté bacon in a large heavy pot until crisp. At this point, you can remove the bacon bits or you can leave them in your soup.  Sauté onions in the bacon fat until translucent. Add carrots and sauté another minute or two. Add the ham bone, yellow peas, bay leaves, water and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the peas are almost tender, about 30 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until they are soft if pierced with a fork. Remove the bone, cut off the meat (if any) and return it to the pot. Discard the bone and bay leaves. Serve the soup with croutons.

Preheat oven to 300F. Cut about 4 slices of whole wheat bread into 1/2 in cubes, spread over a cookie sheet and bake until crisp, about 20 minutes, turning once or twice.


  1. I hate this soup, but yours looks nice and seems to be delicious

  2. I love soups like this and I made it yesterday. Try it! So easy and delicious. (I forgot to add the potatoes and did not actually try making the croutons yet - toddler in the house, you know how it is.) YUM! Everyone loves this soup! -Lydia

  3. Grochowka in Polish. Love it, the one problem is after you eat this soup;)

  4. Hello! I made this soup and it was absolutely d-lish! I made it both ways: with ham bone, one with chicken stock instead. Both were awesome. The ham bone was much much sweeter (I think it was a honey ham) but it had lots of nitrates and other additives. I'm going to try again with another ham bone that does not have additives.

    Wow is all I can say!

    Also, half of my potatoes were purple potatoes, and they did not hold up as well in the soup. They seemed to dissapate.

    Lastly, the 8 cups of water were hardly enough. I think I almost doubled that. I ended up losing count, but actually used approximately 12-16.

    Thanks again. My 4-yr old son LOVED it! WOW!


    1. Hi Andrea,

      Thank you for your comment. It will be helpful to others. When I simmer the peas, I cover the pot to keep the water from evaporating. And of course, the soup can be as thick or as thin as you like!

    2. Ah! Great tip! I am making the soup AGAIN today! (Yup, that's how much I LOVED it!) and I will head over to the stove and cover up that pot! Good to know that sometimes I could have the soup thicker (maybe winter?) and a little thinner in the fall!

      Big hug to you for sharing. AND....... I love your photos! Amazing! I saw you on flickr. Wow... great stuff. You're very talented in many areas and I will def keep checking back for more recipes.

      :) Andrea


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