french canadian yellow pea soup

Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go. —Anthony Bourdain

french canadian pea soup | conifères & feuillus
Rooted in the days of New France, this humble, nourishing soup is an accolade to the spirit and tenacity of the French Canadian people. It goes by many names—soupe aux pois, habitant soup, Québec pea soup or French Canadian pea soup. Certainly, it has evolved over the years into versions each family calls their own. Long after the 1763 Treaty of Paris  and The Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the political presence of France in the New World remains through the descendants of  her settlers and the cuisine they contrived into their own. In the cookbook “La Cuisine Traditionnelle de Charlevoix” by Micheline Mongrain-Dontigny, soupe aux pois is made with not much more than dry peas, salted pork and onions. My husband’s family’s version includes carrots and celery but can’t be made without ham hock, I was told. But it’s the version of Aube Giroux that we like most anyways. She even gives permission to make it without any meat and it can easily be made vegan by substituting the butter with olive oil. One thing for sure, with or without the meat, vegan or not, this is good soup— a classic, a staple, sacred here in Canada for a reason.french canadian pea soup | conifères & feuillusI prefer using whole peas instead of the split version. Above, is a photo of the peas after they have been soaked overnight. french canadian pea soup | conifères & feuillusfrench canadian pea soup | conifères & feuillusfrench canadian pea soup | conifères & feuillus

A Vegetarian Version of the French Canadian Yellow Pea Soup

  • 400 g (2 cups) whole yellow dry peas
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup chopped or about 125 g)
  • 2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup chopped or about 110 g)
  • 1 medium leek , finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cup chopped or about 200 g)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cup chopped or about 200 g)
  • 3 tbsp butter (or olive oil for vegan version)
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional)

recipe can be found here