As a personal chef, I’ve worked for many years for a lovely senior lady in Oak Brook, Illinois. When I first started cooking for her, she shared her recipe for a classic split pea soup that she used to make when her children were young.

What I love about this soup, is there is nothing fancy or unusual in the ingredients; it starts with a basic mirepoix, which is just onions, celery and carrots. After the mirepoix has sauteed and softened for a few minutes, next the split peas go in. The cooking liquid that she used is water; not broth. I admit, I was dubious when I first tried it. It turns out that the end result is a nice clean pea flavor; really delightful. I always add a bay leaf to my soups; I think that’s a great way to add another layer of flavor. As a personal chef, I feel it’s important to know when to stop trying to improve on something that is perfect.

As with any bean or legume soup, it’s important to not use salt until the end of the cooking time. Adding salt in the beginning makes the legumes tough, and consequently they might not soften up if salt is added too soon.

I like to use an immersion blender at the very end. (By the way, a word to the wise! Pick out the bay leaves first! Don’t ask me how I know that! You do not want hard little pieces of bay leaves in your soup, just take my word for it!)

For your reference, I have lots of other soup suggestions on my menu page, which you can’t find here:

All in all, my week’s highlight is always when I get to cook for and visit with one of my senior clients. Cooking for seniors has been such an honor for me in my 16 years in business. As you can see, when they share one of their treasured recipes, the experience is even more rewarding! Most of my senior clients have spend years and years seeing to everyone else’s needs; it is so wonderful to be their home chef who can now see to theirs!