When I made this Sausage and Split Pea Stew, it was delightfully easy and its flavor impressive. Surprised by numerous recipes calling for “just throw everything in the pot” once the sausage browned; I struggled a little with not layering the flavors, skeptical of great taste with so little effort.
Melding a few promising recipes into one, this soup proved worthy of a regular spot on the menu rotation. Nothing fancy, just down right delicious.
Split peas and lentils boast a beautiful range of autumn colors to choose from; I selected yellow for a bright, appetizing soup. Green and brown lentils are more common and equally as tasty, but tend to make soups look muddy or cloudy.
Its humble ingredients will never outshine Lobster Bisque or Cream of Asparagus for culinary elegance, however, Sausage & Split Pea Stew delivers a flavorful and satisfying meal without a lot of fuss.
Sausage and Split Pea Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage , removed from casings
- 1 medium onion , diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 stalks celery , diced (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 red bell pepper , diced (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil , or 1/3 cup fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme , or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 3 medium carrots , diced (about 1 1/4 cup)
- 1 medium zucchini , chopped, about 2 cups
- 2 cups dry split peas , rinsed and soaked for 4-8 hours(or lentils, see note)
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 piece Parmesan rind
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes , undrained
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- Parmesan cheese , for garnish
- *Soak split peas in water for 4-8 hours in advance. This reduces cooking time and ensures they will soften if they've been stored a long time.
- In a large pot, brown sausage in olive oil over medium heat. Remove sausage from pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- In the same pot, saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper in the rendered fat from the sausage until vegetables are softened and beginning to caramelize, 7-8 minutes (add more oil as needed). Add the garlic, salt and spices, cook another 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the herbs release a pleasant aroma.
- Add the carrots, zucchini, and split peas to the pot and pour in some of the chicken stock and stir to loosen any browned bits at the bottom to incorporate into the stew. Add the cooked sausage, remaining stock and Parmesan rind; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour (if using lentils, simmer for 20 minutes), or until peas are tender. Add the tomatoes and cook uncovered for 30 minutes to meld flavors.
- Stir in parsley just before serving. Remove Parmesan rind and serve with freshly grated Parmesan and crusty bread.
I left the sprinkle of Parmesan off for the photo to show a better example of the texture of the soup ~ but the Parmesan is important when served.