Ina Garten Gives 1 Classic Comfort Food Soup an Upgrade That’s Perfect for a Snowy Winter Day

Ina Garten has the most comforting soup recipe for a cold winter day (or night!) and it’s so easy to make. The Barefoot Contessa star has two varieties of split pea soup and one gets an amazing upgrade with crispy kielbasa.

Ina Garten wears a blue shirt and stands with her hands out the side while talking with Hoda Kotb on the 'Today' show
Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Ina Garten shared her love for split pea soup

On Jan. 15, the Food Network highlighted Garten’s split pea soup on their Instagram account. The caption accompanying the video promised: “Bet you’ve never had split pea soup like THIS! @inagarten tops her version with crispy kielbasa and … WOW!”

Garten shared her love for split pea soup in the recipe’s introduction. “One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is a bowl of split pea soup, dating back to the days when my mother served us canned pea soup with cut-up hot dogs (very ’50s!),” she wrote.

Garten added, “Now I prefer a big pot of homemade soup to serve with sautéed kielbasa on top. I love the way the earthy, creamy soup contrasts with the crispy, spicy sausage.”

How to make Ina Garten’s easy split pea soup with crispy kielbasa recipe

Garten made the split pea soup with crispy kielbasa recipe on an episode of Barefoot Contessa. She added chopped yellow onions, chopped leeks, and diced carrots to olive oil in a pan and cooked them for 7 to 8 minutes until the vegetables were soft. She added garlic, split peas, and homemade chicken stock. Garten said you can use store-bought stock but warned, “But don’t tell me about it.”

She also added water, explaining, “I actually add water to it because, as it simmers away, a lot of the steam comes off. And I don’t want the chicken stock to get too concentrated.”

Next, Garten added a bundle of thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and a ham hock. “It’s got lots of flavor, it’s very inexpensive,” she explained about the ham hock. “If you put it in, it’s going to flavor the whole soup.”

She partially covered the pot with a lid and let it cook for an hour and 15 minutes, stirring the soup occasionally. The Food Network host removed the ham hock, thyme, and bay leaves from the soup.

Then Garten used an immersion blender in the soup. “And this is really important,” she noted. “Just do it for like two seconds. You don’t want to blend everything. That’ll just make the soup a little creamier but you’ll still have the texture of the split peas.”

Garten served the soup in a bowl and garnished it with parsley, pointing out the texture is “both creamy but it’s also got all the vegetables in it.” She placed a few pieces of kielbasa she had cut in half and sautéed on top of the soup.

“I mean, who wouldn’t want to have this for lunch? This looks amazing,” Garten said. “This is so delicious. It’s really comforting and so much better than what I remember from my childhood.”

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.

Garten makes a variation of split pea soup that includes potatoes

Garten’s recipe for Parker’s split pea soup is another variation on a classic, but this version doesn’t include a ham hock or kielbasa and adds potatoes. The Barefoot Contessa star starts the soup by cooking onion and minced garlic, then adds salt, pepper, and dried oregano. Next, she adds chopped carrots, diced potatoes, chicken stock, and split peas.

Garten shared an easy trick for the best texture. While making the recipe on an episode of Barefoot Contessa, she added more peas halfway through cooking the soup. “Then the split peas that are already in there get really soft and make the soup really rich and thick,” Garten explained. “And then these split peas will cook a little less so they’ll have a little bit of bite to them, which is really good. I like both textures.”

The full recipe is available on the Food Network website.

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