2012 Cooking Resolution 101: Let’s Make Split Pea Soup

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year is to learn to cook a little more. And by a little, I mean a lot. My “learning to cook” mini classes with my mom began a few months ago. I literally only knew how to make, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, mac and cheese, stuffed cannellonis and a few other simple meals. I didn’t even know how to correctly make rice. I’m serious, I needed instructions on how to make rice. So in 2012, I’ll be sharing with you a few recipes as I go along the way for those of you who are also trying to figure your ways around the kitchen. Or just for those of you who want to add a few new dishes to you repertoire.

The weather in Miami has been reaching the low 40s and even 30s in some areas recently and will be low again later this week. That’s like saying it’s freezing weather for Miamians. So naturally, at night when you’re home you want to dine on something warm that makes you feel all cozy inside. One of my favorite meals is “Chicharros” (said in Spanish), which basically translates to Split Pea Soup. It’s not as watery as most soups and a little more like a thick stew. I hope you are all ok that not everything has exact measurements. As many recipes from Mom don’t. She mainly just tells me a little of this, a lot of that, and dash of the other one. I will try to give them some measurements for you though. Since most of us, who are rookies like myself, can’t cook just by visualizing it.

Here’s what you need for my family recipe for “Chicharros”/Split Pea:

  • half an onion
  • 1/4 of a green pepper
  • about a 1/4 (I used half of a half) of a Spanish Pumpkin (Calabaza)
  • 1  big potato or 2 small ones
  • 1 Malanga
  • 1 package of diced ham chunks (or you can use about 3 slices of steak/cooking ham)
  • Goya All-purpose seasoning
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • 1/2 Can of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • (if you want you can add 1 Spanish Sausage, though I made it without it, because I’m not a big fan of that).

Here’s how to get these ingredients working to make some delicious stew:

First, pour in your package of split peas in a big pressure cooker and cover it with water. Add a little more water but do not fill the pot halfway, a little less than half would be good, if not the stew will be too watery.

Turn the stove up to high and start chopping all your veggies. Start putting in your green peppers, onions, potato, malanga and calabaza in the pot. Make sure they’re cut up into small little pieces. Add some of the all-purpose seasoning and garlic powder. Don’t be stingy with it, I add it until I see the powder floating on the top of all the mixture. Then add a dash of salt. I don’t have exact measurements, but enough to fill the middle of your palm – about the size of a nickel should do. Mix it all in and add the pieces of ham to your mixture. (If you’re using Spanish Sausage as well, put it in
now too). Add half a can of tomato sauce and 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil Cover to the pot and let it cook on high. When the steam starts coming out of the top spout, put the valve on and lower the heat to Medium. Let it cook for about 15 minutes. Then remove it from the hot stove and let it sit to cool for about 10 minutes, so the vapor stops. Do not remove the cover yet, as it can explode if it’s too hot. Voila your delicious meal should be done!

This can be served as a warm tasty soup/stew or you can even pour it on over rice.

Let me know if you make this and how it turns out. I hope it impresses your spouse, family and friends. Here’s to better cooking and tasty meals in 2012!

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