While all of Stephanie Burchiel’s soups sell well at the farmers’ markets, her most requested, she says, is split pea soup. In fact, she once sold out of 15 gallons of it in 25 minutes, according to her book, “Central Coast Farmers Market Soups.”

It’s a simple recipe, she writes, “but the key is in the preparation.”

“Forget everything you ever learned about a ‘gentle skimmer,’ and turn those stove dials as high as they can go and boil away,” she continues. “This soup should start thick, get thin during cooking then thicken up as the peas begin to finish up.”

Here’s her suggested ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 C split peas, soaked overnight
  • 2 heirloom carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 stalks of celery (leaves included if they are still on), chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced (Adding the whole thing will make the soup too sweet.)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. rosemary, dried, whole
  • 1 bay leaf, dried, whole (organic leaves are far superior to conventional bay leaves)
  • 1 T parsley, died
  • 1/4 C grape seed oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 7-8 C filtered water + more, if needed.

To prepare:

In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot, saute onion in grape seed oil until translucent but not brown. Add garlic and continue to saute an additional 2-3 minutes. Add split peas and water, bring to a boil. (If soup gets foamy, don’t panic — turn the heat down to med/low and let the foam absorb into the soup then return to boil.) Add carrots and celery once the foam has subsided, add herbs and bay leaf.

Cook soup on high heat, stirring every 4-5 minutes (to avoid scalding) for about 60-70 minutes or until soup has thickened and peas are soft. You may need to add more water if the soup is too thick. Add salt and black pepper, ladle into bowls or cool off and store.