Instant Pot Sopa De Chicharos — 🥄🍲 Dive into the comforting embrace of a traditional favorite with a modern twist!
Today, I’m thrilled to share my take on the classic Sopa de Chicharos, perfectly crafted in an Instant Pot. This hearty split pea soup, infused with rich flavors, is not just a meal; it’s a warm hug in a bowl.
What Is Sopa De Chicharos
Sopa de Chicharos, also known as Cuban Split Pea Soup, is a thick and hearty soup that combines split peas with various other ingredients to create a rich and comforting dish. This soup is typically made with smoked ham (ham shanks, hocks, or a meaty ham bone), vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes, and flavored with spices such as garlic, oregano, cumin, and black pepper. Some variations include calabaza squash (butternut squash) for added texture and flavor.
Making Sopa de Chicharos involves cooking these ingredients until the peas and vegetables are tender and the flavors meld. The ham adds a savory depth to the soup, while the split peas provide a creamy texture. This soup is often enjoyed with crusty bread or white rice, making it a filling and satisfying meal.
Depending on your preference, you can use traditional methods like stovetop cooking or modern appliances like Instant Pots or Crockpots. The key to a good Sopa de Chicharos lies in the simmering process, which allows the flavors to develop fully. It’s important to note that the soup thickens as it cools, so adding water or broth to adjust the consistency to your liking is an option.
This dish is not only delicious but also quite nutritious, offering a good source of protein and fiber. It’s a versatile soup that can be adjusted to your taste preferences, and it’s perfect for a cozy meal on a chilly day.
If you are looking for easier Instant Pot Soup Recipes, my favorites are Instant Pot Chili con Carne or my kid’s favorite Instant Pot Copycat Panera Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese.
Why You Will Love This Recipe!
You will love this Sopa de Chicharos (Cuban Split Pea Soup) recipe for several reasons:
- Rich Flavor: The combination of smoked ham, vegetables, and spices like garlic, oregano, and cumin creates a deep, savory flavor profile that is comforting and satisfying.
- Hearty and Nutritious: This soup is packed with nutrients from the split peas, which are a great source of protein and fiber, as well as from the variety of vegetables.
- Versatility: It can be easily adapted to suit different dietary needs or preferences. For instance, you can make it vegetarian by omitting the ham and using vegetable stock.
- Convenience: The recipe can be adapted for various cooking methods, including traditional stovetop, slow cooker, or Instant Pot, making it convenient for any home cook.
- Perfect for Any Season: While particularly comforting during colder months, its heartiness and ease of preparation make it a great meal option year-round.
- Leftover-Friendly: Sopa de Chicharos tends to taste even better the next day, making it a great option for meal prep or leftovers.
- Customizable Texture: You can adjust the thickness to your liking by adding more broth or water, and it can be left chunky or blended for a smoother soup.
These aspects combine to make Sopa de Chicharos a delightful and satisfying dish that will surely become a favorite in your recipe collection.
Ingredients Needed For Instant Pot Sopa De Chicharos
Embark on a culinary journey with the Instant Pot Sopa de Chicharos, a classic Cuban split pea soup rich in flavor and easy to make. This comforting and nutritious dish is perfect for any day of the week, offering a delightful blend of traditional ingredients with the convenience of modern cooking.
Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below, in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, as well as the nutritional information.
- Dried Split Peas: The backbone of the soup, split peas provide a creamy texture and are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber.
- Olive Oil: Used for sautéing the vegetables, olive oil adds a subtle richness and is a healthier fat option.
- Yellow Sweet Onion: The onion brings a mild, sweet flavor to the soup, enhancing the overall taste profile.
- Garlic: Essential for its pungent aroma and flavor, garlic adds depth and character to the dish.
- Celery & Carrots: These vegetables add a fresh crunch, sweetness, and vitamins to the soup.
- Red Potatoes: Potatoes thicken the soup naturally and offer a comforting, hearty element.
- Corn: This adds a slight sweetness and smooth texture, enriching the soup’s body.
- Liquid Smoke: An optional ingredient that infuses a smoky flavor, mimicking the traditional use of smoked meats.
- Seasonings (Dried Oregano, Ground Cumin, Smoked Paprika, etc.): A blend of spices that contributes to the soup’s warm, earthy flavors.
- Bay Leaves: They impart a subtle, herbal essence, adding complexity to the soup.
- Salt & Pepper: Basic seasonings to enhance and balance all the flavors in the dish.
- Ham: A traditional ingredient that adds a rich, savory depth to the soup.
- Chicken Broth: It forms the soup’s base, providing more flavor than water alone.
How To Make Instant Pot Sopa De Chicharos
Making Sopa de Chicharos in an Instant Pot is a convenient way to prepare this traditional Cuban soup. Here’s a summarized version of the process:
- Prep Ingredients: Prepare your split peas, vegetables, and ham. Rinse the split peas and chop the vegetables and ham into bite-sized pieces.
- Sauté Vegetables: Use the sauté function on your Instant Pot to cook the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in olive oil. This step is crucial for developing the flavors.
- Add Remaining Ingredients: After the vegetables are sautéed, add the ham, split peas, and the other ingredients: chicken broth, water, potatoes, squash, and seasonings to the pot.
- Cook the Soup: Seal the Instant Pot and cook on manual high pressure for a specified time, usually around 15 minutes. This pressure cooking process significantly reduces the cooking time compared to traditional methods.
- Natural Release: After cooking, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure for a certain period before doing a quick release. This step ensures that the peas are fully cooked and the flavors are well integrated.
- Adjust Consistency and Seasonings: Add more broth or water to achieve your desired consistency if the soup is too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Serve: Serve the soup hot, possibly with crusty bread or white rice.
Variations of the Instant Pot Sopa de Chicharos recipe allow you to tailor the dish to your taste preferences or dietary needs. Here are some popular variations:
- Vegetarian/Vegan: Replace the ham with a plant-based alternative like smoked tofu or increase the variety of vegetables. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
- Gluten-Free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free, but always ensure that all your ingredients, especially store-bought broth or seasonings, are certified gluten-free.
- Spicy Version: Add chopped jalapeños or a pinch of cayenne pepper during the cooking process for a spicy kick.
- Meat Variations: Instead of ham, use chorizo, sausage, or chicken for a different flavor profile.
- Additional Vegetables: Feel free to add vegetables like zucchini, spinach, or kale for extra nutrition and flavor.
- Low-Carb: For a low carb version, reduce the number of potatoes and increase the quantity of lower-carb vegetables like cauliflower or turnips.
- Creamier Texture: After cooking, use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup for a creamier texture.
- Different Legumes: While split peas are traditional, you can experiment with other legumes like lentils or chickpeas.
Here are some pro tips to make your Instant Pot Sopa de Chicharos even more delicious and hassle-free:
- Rinse Split Peas Thoroughly: Before cooking, rinse the split peas well to remove any dirt or impurities. This ensures a clean flavor in your soup.
- Sauté for Flavor: Don’t skip the sautéing step for the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. This process helps to develop a deeper, richer flavor in the soup.
- Deglaze the Pot: After sautéing, make sure to deglaze the bottom of the Instant Pot with a little broth to prevent the ‘burn’ warning during pressure cooking.
- Layer Ingredients Correctly: Add the liquids (broth and water) after the solid ingredients. This helps prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom and ensures even cooking.
- Natural Pressure Release: Allow for natural pressure release for at least 10-15 minutes after cooking. This step is crucial for split peas to become fully tender.
- Adjust Thickness: If the soup is too thick after cooking, add a bit more broth or water to reach your desired consistency.
- Add Acid for Brightness: A splash of vinegar or lemon juice at the end of cooking can brighten up the flavors.
- Taste and Season: Always taste your soup before serving and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Sometimes a bit more salt, pepper, or herbs can make a big difference.
- Store Properly: Cool the soup completely before storing it in the fridge. Sopa de Chicharos tastes even better the next day as the flavors meld together.
- Freeze for Later: This soup freezes well. Store in freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion.
Can I make this soup vegetarian? Yes, you can make it vegetarian by omitting the ham and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Consider adding more vegetables or a vegetarian protein source like tofu for added substance.
How can I prevent the ‘burn’ notice on my Instant Pot? Ensure you deglaze the pot after sautéing the vegetables and add the liquid ingredients last. Scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck bits helps prevent the burn notice.
What if my soup is too thick or too thin? If the soup is too thick, add more broth or water until you reach your desired consistency. If it’s too thin, you can let it simmer with the lid off after cooking to reduce and thicken.
Can Sopa de Chicharos be frozen for later use? Yes, this soup freezes well. Cool it completely before freezing in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
How long does this soup last in the refrigerator? Properly stored in an airtight container, it can last 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Can I use a different type of pea or legume? While split peas are traditional, you can experiment with other types like lentils or chickpeas, but cooking times might vary.
Is it necessary to soak the split peas before cooking? Soaking is not mandatory, especially when using an Instant Pot, but rinsing them well is important.
Can I add other vegetables to the soup? Absolutely. Feel free to include additional vegetables like spinach, kale, or zucchini for more nutrition and flavor.
What’s the best way to serve Sopa de Chicharos? It’s great served with crusty bread or white rice, and can be garnished with fresh herbs or a squeeze of lemon for extra flavor.
More Instant Pot Recipes
- INSTANT POT-SOUTH CAROLINA SHE-CRAB SOUP
- INSTANT POT-PRESSURE COOKER-HOMEMADE MISO SOUP
- EASY INSTANT POT-PRESSURE COOKER-(COPYCAT OLIVE GARDEN) CHICKEN AND GNOCCHI SOUP
- INSTANT POT-COPYCAT WENDY’S CHILI
What to Serve with Instant Pot Split Pea Soup?
- INSTANT POT DINNER ROLLS
- AIR FRYER, CORN DOG BITES
- AIR FRYER, HOMEMADE HUSH PUPPIES
- EASY AIR FRYER, CORNBREAD WITH CREAM-STYLE CORN
- AIR FRYER COPYCAT RECIPE-MARIE CALLENDER’S FAMOUS GOLDEN CORNBREAD WITH HONEY BUTTER
- Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Sterilizer, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer, 6 Quart, 14 One-Touch Programs
Don’t Forget To Pin!
Instant Pot Sopa De Chicharos
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 2 stalks carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed
- 6 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon Salt , to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
- 1 cup ham, Ham bone or diced ham
- 1 teaspoon Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
- Prep Ingredients: Chop your vegetables and rinse the split peas under cold water.
- Sauté Vegetables: Turn the Instant Pot to the sauté setting. Add olive oil. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add Peas and Liquids: Add the rinsed split peas, corn, chicken or vegetable broth, bay leaves, and dried thyme to the pot. If using, add the ham bone or diced ham. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the Soup: Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to “sealing.” Select the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” setting and set the timer for 15 minutes at high pressure.
- Natural Release: After the cooking time is complete, let the Instant Pot release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then, carefully turn the valve to “venting” to release any remaining pressure.
- Final Touches: Remove the bay leaves (and ham bone, if used). Stir the soup, adjust salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, add a little more broth or water to reach your desired consistency.
- Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
- Enjoy Your Sopa De Chicharos!
- Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, or Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker