06 November, 2010

Stockmeyer Pea Soup

Good, honest pea soup is a sublime and simple pleasure.  Dried peas, an onion or two, and a handful of herbs, simmered for hours around a ham bone - or better yet, a couple of meaty smoked hocks - turn into a meal-in-a-bowl.  It's even better with a couple of diced potatoes and carrots thrown in to cook an hour or so before serving.  Unlike a stew, where a flour-based roux is often called for to thicken up the gravy, pea soup should be relatively thick as a result of it's ingredients.  I have friends who swear that pea soup isn't thick enough unless the spoon can stand up on its own when stabbed into the bowl.  My own view is not that extreme, but still, I understand the thinking behind it.  For me, the perfect pea soup is slightly thicker than gravy, with a good hammy flavor behind the peas; a hint of smoke from the pork, the kiss of onion and green herbs, and an occasional bit of potato.  If it's been made with smoked hocks, there should be shreds of meat mingled in.

Now, there isn't a canned soup made that can truly measure up to good homemade.  When I buy canned soup, it's for convenience, not for gourmet enjoyment.  All I ask is that it's "good enough" - it doesn't have to be excellent.  Unfortunately, Stockmeyer Pea Soup doesn't even make it to "good enough."  Not only was the soup surprisingly bland, but it had an odd texture that didn't seem right for a pea soup and which might have been due to the fact that it's thickened with modified wheat starch and guar gum.

Strangely, the label also listed "artificial flavoring (including eggs, soybeans, milk)."  I have no idea what kind of artificial flavoring is derived from "eggs, soybeans, milk" but  it seems to be a common listing on Stockmeyer soup ingredient panels.

This is one product I would not buy again.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with your overall assessment of pea soup, versus homemade. Campbell's once had a Chunky split pea and ham that I enjoyed. I can't find it anymore. Maybe because it was good and they can't afford to sell it at a reasonable price anymore. As for this brand, at least they have an artistic label. They can start with that and rebuild their soup.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I totally disagree with you!!! We just
bought a can of this pea soup. We have had a number
of them from Anderson's to Progresso. And this is
by the far the best we've ever had !!!

Anonymous said...

Can you get Habitant brand Quebec style pea soup in the US, or just here in Canada? it's pretty good for canned.

Jim in YK

Anonymous said...

No canned pea soup for me, I do remember the Chunky one from Cambels, it was passable.

Anonymous said...

I think that you americans are just not used to GERMAN Pea Soup... i am German and i have to say that for a canned Peasoup it is just great tasting. If you want American Style Pea Soup look somewhere else; this is German style :-)