Split Pea Smoked Turkey Soup

A good friend of mine has come down with the dreaded H1N1 influenza.  He’s well, and caught everything before his respiratory system was compromised greatly.  A blessing, indeed.  And, like most people who are ill, he really just wants some soup.  So, that’s what I’m bringing him later today; along with some home baked breads.  Usually people will put ham hocks, bacon, or other piggy parts into this style of soup.  I couldn’t bring myself to pile any more swine related items into his house.  So, I opted for a lesser known smoked meat, smoked turkey legs.  Executing the recipe below takes little more than the pots and a little time.  Luckily for me, I had the bread to bake while I was waiting for everything to come together.  Enjoy this soup alone, or share with your own infirm comrades.

Split Pea Smoked Turkey Soup

  • 2 smoked turkey legs
  • 2 medium onions (medium dice)
  • 1 garlic head (peeled, rough chop of cloves)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cans chicken stock (1 quart)
  • 1 bag (16 oz) dried split peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here we go -.  Put the turkey legs in a pot just big enough to hold them horizontally, and add cold water to cover them by one inch.  Add the bay leaf and bring to a simmer.  Continue simmering for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic cloves.  Sweat the onion and garlic in a good sized (2 gallon) pot with a little oil.  Once the vegetables are tender, add the chicken stock(*), and then the split peas.

Once the turkey stock has simmered for at least 20 minutes, strain the liquid into the other pot.  You can transfer the bay leaf to the soup pot, if you care to.  Cover with a lid and simmer until the peas are very soft.  30-45 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, take the skin away from the turkey and discard it.  Use a paring knife to remove the meat from the bone.  Then pull away any thing that you wouldn’t want to feed someone (bones, gristle, fat, tendons) and chop the remaining meat into small pieces.

Once the peas are very soft (mushy really), remove from the heat, remove bay leaf (if you went for it) and puree (in a processor, blender, or with an immersion blender).  Correct the seasoning, and add the chopped turkey to finish the soup.

Serve now, or refrigerate and transport to your friend most in need.  (*)Note: this is not a super thick style of split pea soup, if that is your preference, once the vegetables are soft, stop cooking until the turkey stock is ready (20 mins or so), then just use the turkey stock (no chicken) with the split peas and continue from this point.

This might not be bad with a stock made from the turkey bones that are sure to be found soon as well.  Maybe with a ham bone or two…  Just throwing it out there.

Take good care of yourself and each other-

-Scott

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