Split pea soup is an American classic, but sometimes you want to try something a little different. Spice up your standard split pea soup offering by adding fragrant crumbled sausage and sweet and juicy roasted tomatoes. This recipe from Chef Trula Hepner will leave you craving more. Learn more about the health benefits of tomatoes from Registered Dietitian Susan Marquez.
Creamy Roasted Tomato, Sweet Sausage, and Split Pea Soup
By Chef Trula Hepner
- 1 pound split peas
- 1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 pounds ripe Roma tomatoes
- 1 head fresh garlic
- 2 to 3 fresh leeks, cleaned and chopped to yield 2 ⅓ cups
- One 28-ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 14 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces finely shredded Asiago cheese
- Fresh croutons, crusty bread, or crackers, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice water and set aside.
Cut top from garlic head (just enough to expose the cloves), leaving the skin on. Place on a baking dish or oven-safe glass bowl, and drizzle 1 ½ tsp of olive oil over garlic. Cover dish with foil and bake garlic in preheated oven until soft and lightly browned, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Prepare the tomatoes to boil by scoring a shallow X in the bottom of each tomato. This will prevent the tomatoes from bursting and will allow the skin to be peeled more easily peeled. Once water reaches a boil, carefully place tomatoes in boiling water and allow to boil just until the skins start peeling away, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool for about 30 seconds or until they are cool enough to handle. Peel and dice the tomatoes.
Place a medium or large saucepan over medium-high heat, add ¼ cup of olive oil, or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the sausage and brown, about 5 minutes. Drain pan.
In a large enameled pot over medium-high heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and let warm. Add leeks and sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and their juices, canned crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, red pepper flakes, and thyme leaves. Peel and mince roasted garlic, then add to soup.* Add the peas. Bring soup just to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until peas are tender. The soup can be simmered up to two hours covered for added flavor.
When ready to serve, stir in heavy cream, and top with fresh croutons and shredded Asiago cheese.
*Pro Tip: To roast garlic, slice off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves. Drizzle olive oil on exposed cloves, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Wrap the head in foil and seal tightly. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until soft. As the garlic cools, the skins will easily slide off.