My family, on both my mom and dad’s side, has migrated from France and set roots in Quebec back in the early 1700’s. In the early 1900’s, my Great-grandparents bought farmland in Northern Ontario, bringing with them the rich culture of the French Canadians.
Passed down from one generation to another are some of the great classic recipes of the French Canadian Cuisine; tourtiere (meat pie), sucre a la creme (similar to a hard caramel), ragout de pattes de cochons (my favorite pork dish), and finally pea soup, made famous by the soup brand “Habitant”.
The funny thing about these recipes that have been passed down is that they are not written. There is no magic spell book. They are in the minds and hearts of my mom, aunts, cousins and sisters. Everyone cooks them a little differently. In order to learn how to make them, you actually have to spend time with these women and see how it’s done.
I remember one time trying to learn how to make bread with my Grandmother. She never bought store-bought bread. Once a week, usually Thursdays, she’d make a dozen or so loaves (enough to share). She didn’t use measuring cups, so recording her recipe was impossible. For example, she would put “a glass” of warm water to mix the yeast. She always used the same glass so she knew exactly what worked. I remember asking how much flour to add, but for her, it went by feel. She knew she had just enough when the dough felt just right (sigh!)
I’m not close to being the great cook my mom is, or my grandmothers were. However, I want to capture these great classics so that I can pass them down myself one day. I will record these French Canadian Classic Recipes (my interpretations of them at least) and share them on my blog for all of you.
So, without further ado, I present to you my very own interpretation of French Canadian Pea Soup.
French Canadian Pea Soup Recipe
- 2 cups of yellow split peas, rinsed
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 3 to 4 cups of water
- 2 cups of cubed cooked ham (throw in the ham bone for added flavour)
- 2 ribs of celery
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 medium onion, cubed, or 1 table spoon of onion powder
- 1 sprig of fresh Thyme
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Place everything in a crock pot, cook on high for 7 to 8 hours (until the split peas get soft) or 10 to 12 hours on low.
- Remove the ham bone and the sprigs of thyme.
- Serve with crusty bread or crackers! Enjoy!