Mama Apron here... As a kid growing up in Quebec, there was nothing better than spring. My brothers and I wore these super stylish one-piece splash suits and billy boots and we played outside in the melting snow puddles until we couldn't feel our toes. What this really meant though was that we were getting close to our annual trip to the Cabane à sucre. The maple sap was starting to flow which meant we were going to be treated to our annual traditional Quebec lunch.
This is where the split pea soup comes in. Don't get me wrong, this was not our favourite part of the lunch, but it meant we were closer to what we had been waiting for all winter, tire sur la neige. This is boiled maple syrup that is poured onto snow and it hardens into a delicious but extremely sweet taffy. You can see why we loved spring as kids! The lunch menu typically consisted of split pea soup, baked maple beans and ham, scrambled eggs, pancakes, some weird fried stuff (possibly pigs ears), pudding Chomeur or sugar pie for dessert, and finally the long-awaited tire.
But as an adult, the thing I most crave from this menu is the split pea soup. Using leftover ham from a holiday meal is the best time to make this soup but you can always use store-bought ham and just dice it up. Or you can omit it entirely and make this vegetarian. If you do this, add salt to taste.
This soup is really easy, add everything to a large pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 2.5 hours.
Sorry, fiddle music not included.
2 cups split peas, rinsed
6 cups cold water
250g chopped ham
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp ground pepper
salt, to taste
Rinse split peas and add to a large stockpot.
Add all other ingredients except salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until peas are soft about 2 1/2 hours. Add more water if soup gets too thick.
Season with salt and pepper.
Happy spring! xx2DA