French Canadian Pea Soup
This authentic French Canadian recipe is a classic belly warmer.
all in one piece
Newfoundland Pea Soup is very similar, but usually includes more vegetables such as diced turnips and carrots, and is often topped with small dumplings.
This soup is very good reheated. The most authentic version of Quebec's soupe aux pois use whole yellow peas, with salt pork and herbs for flavour. After cooking, the pork is usually chopped and returned to the soup, or sometimes removed to slice thinly and served separately. Instead of fresh or dried herbs, herbes salees (herbs preserved with salt) are often used; they are available commercially or made at home.
Pea soup remains a popular dish in restaurants where tourists enjoy a true taste of old Quebec. In some variations, a little garlic, leeks, other vegetables or a ham bone are added for flavour. For a thicker consistency (though this is not traditional) a cup or two of cooked peas can be puréed then returned to the soup.
Wash and sort peas; soak in cold water overnight.
Drain and place in a large pot; add water, parsley, salt pork, onion, celery, carrots, parsley, bay leaf, savory and 1 teaspoon salt.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until peas are very tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if needed.
Remove salt pork; chop and return to soup. Discard bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
First published: 1996-01-27 last updated: 2015-07-21