My Man-friend is a huge fan of pea soup... I've made it only once before and didn't really love it, it was pretty bland. I think it's the ham in traditional split pea soup that makes it flavorful. I was dead set on making a delicious vegetarian version!
I consulted Martha (Stewart of course) for some guidelines. I branched out on my own though after the "add ham bone to pot" part though. Sauté carrots, onions, and celery with salt pepper and thyme until they are tender. Add in two cartons of vegetable stock and two cups of water as well as a bag of split peas. Bring to a boil. Now here's the trick! Liquid smoke, to replace the dimension added from the ham bone. I used about six dashes. Cover and let simmer until the peas are soft.
I stuck my submersion blender right into the pan to blend it until it was smooth. You could use a regular blender in small batches though.
Crusty bread for dipping :)
This pea soup was MUCH better and very flavorful! The Man-friend was very thankful and practically licked his bowl clean :)