Barley—and a bit of nostalgia— makes this split pea soup special

From   |  February 07, 2011
In Coffee and Convo, Kitchen Basics
Featured Recipe: Slow-cooked Split Pea Soup with Barley and Ham

Slow-cooked Split Pea Soup with Barley and Ham

Back when I was just a cub reporter in Raleigh, N.C., the city had an array of perfect lunchtime dives -- restaurants that had been around forever with the scars to prove it. At least once a week a group of us would climb the creaky stairs to a restaurant appropriately called “The Upstairs’’ that served world-class Split Pea Soup.

Nell Styron and the ladies “Upstairs” served a serious split pea soup, thick and flavored with ham. But to my tastes, the thing that set this split pea soup apart was the barley. Barley is a true secret weapon if you’re trying to make a soup that’s velvety, thick without being gloppy, and finally, comforting and homey. (I also use barley instead of potatoes in my vegetable-beef soup.)

Sadly The Upstairs closed in 2000, and I really, really miss that soup! No doubt it was an heirloom recipe, but nonetheless Alicia and I set out to see if we could create a suitable substitute.

We quickly realized that the best way to get the signature texture was to cook the soup in a Crock-Pot. And that’s really fortunate because it means the soup is practically effortless to make.

Just think how great it’s going to be when you walk in the door after a long day to the smells of simmering Split Pea Soup with Barley and Ham. I envy you already!

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Slow-cooked Split Pea Soup with Barley and Ham

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