Saturday, June 27, 2009

Split Pea Soup with Pancetta and Almonds

If you want a more prominent pancetta flavor in your soup, chop some up and add it to the mirepoix (celery, carrots, onion).


  • Carrots, chopped
  • Celery, chopped
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Onions, chopped
  • Bay leaf
  • Potatoes, diced and divided
  • Split peas
  • Cumin seeds
  • Mustard seeds
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Almonds, crushed
  • Pancetta, cubed
  • Sage


  1. Sauté the first four ingredients in a stockpot until carrots are tender
  2. Add bay leaf and most of the potatoes, reserving some for added texture later on
  3. Mix well and add some water to the pot
  4. Mix in the split peas
  5. In a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the cumin, mustard, fenugreek, coriander, fennel and black peppercorns
  6. When stock pot reaches a steady boil, start adding the spice mixture a little at a time, mixing between additions – reserve about a teaspoon of the spice mixture
  7. Add salt, if desired
  8. Stir the soup occasionally so as to avoid burning the bottom
  9. When split peas become tender, start a sauté pan on another burner medium-high heat
  10. Grind the almonds in a spice grinder
  11. When sauté pan is hot, add crushed almonds and reserved spice mixture, mixing frequently to avoid burning
  12. When the almond mixture is nice and brown, remove them from the pan and set aside
  13. Sear the pancetta in the sauté pan
  14. Add a little broth from the soup to the pancetta pan
  15. Add the reserved potatoes to the pancetta pan and mix thoroughly
  16. Add more broth to the pancetta pan if it becomes too dry
  17. When pancetta is thoroughly cooked and potatoes are tender, add a cup or two of the broth to the pancetta pan and simmer
  18. Add the crushed almonds and sage to the pancetta pan and mix thoroughly
  19. Let simmer until sauce thickens
  20. By this time, the soup should be just about ready. If the peas are really tender, remove the bay leaf
  21. Using a hand blender, blend the soup into a smooth puree
  22. Add the pancetta mixture to the soup and simmer for a few minutes
  23. Serve hot


  1. I'm wondering if you're nuts! It's hot outside! Why split pea soup? With meat! Your nuts! Gazpacho is messier to make but much more fun to eat in the summer and you can add avocado because you live in California and don't need to be authentic. It's hot outside!

  2. This is actually an archive recipe from my collection. I think I originally made it in the winter, which hopefully clears up the craziness factor...but maybe not :)