Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sopa de Chicharos (Pea Soup)

This is a very simple split pea soup. I haven't had this soup in about 2 years. I remember it was a cold day and my grandmother made this really simply soup that was delicious, thick, filling, yet sits warm and comfortable in my stomach served along side a nice bowl of hot steaming white rice just out of the rice cooker with the warm soup. Of course it is summer but I felt like making it for dinner. (We always have some legume based dish in my house daily). For a heavier meal you can pair it with a meat dish, and a vegetable side dish. For a very light comforting meal it's good with just rice.

-3 cups split dry green peas (you may use whole peas but split is what is best for this dish it makes a thicker soup)
-10 cups of water
-1 small medium green bell pepper finely minced
-1 small medium onion finely minced
-4 cloves of garlic mashed to a paste or through a garlic press
-1 teaspoon of ground cumin
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
-salt to taste
-Extra-Virgin olive oil about 1/4 cup or 3 tablespoons

(1)Rinse the peas several times through water, put in a pot and add water, bring to a boil on high and simmer on medium low until fully cooked probably around 1 hour.
(2)Make sofrito, heat olive oil on medium high heat, sautee onions and bell pepper for about 5-7 minutes, then add garlic and sautee for about 2 minutes, turn of heat.
(3)Add the "sofrito" to the cooked peas, season with cumin, pepper, and salt. Let it simmer 10-20 minutes together.
(4)Your done :)
NOTE: This basic recipe can be done with ANY TYPE OF LEGUME/ BEAN and still taste good, to make really simple yet delicous bean soups, you can do this with black beans for a more simple version of the Cuban Black Bean Soup, you can do it with red beans but if done with red be sure to use lard instead of olive oil.

The seasoning's used in this soup is one of the most basic ways to season things in Cuban cooking (well my grandmothers style of cooking) it's usually always a very simple sofrito (lard or olive oil, garlic, onion, and bell pepper) then cumin and salt. Those are found in almost all Cuban dishes as a base, then they are build up on with other spices for certain dishes.


Mamey said...

Cubans may also add ham hocks, or salt pork, or chorizo, or smoked pork chops to what in our family we call 'pure de chicharos.'...great flavor boost although plain is great too. Lately I also add some diced carrots and chopped fresh spinach towards the end.

Nathan said...


Yum.... the chorizo sounds really good in it, I got 4 chorizos from the Rioja region of Spain (I think Palacio brand) which are heavely seasoned with Paprika and looks really tasty.

My grandma tends to do things in a very simple manner, I like to add things sometimes.

Mamey said...

Yeah...they sell the Palacios brand at El Mambi in Glendale...different types...some are good for frying with baby clams, some sliced and placed on Cuban bread with olive oil and tomato slices, and some for thick soups.