Grandma Zimmern’s Tailgating Pot of Love

12 Servings • Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound Polish kielbasa links or other Eastern European-style sausage
  • 3 cups chopped escarole
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced fennel
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 meaty ham bone or smoked pork shank
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups green split peas
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow split peas
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • White vinegar, hot sauce and crusty bread, for serving


In a small skillet, toast the caraway seeds over medium heat, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Finely grind the seeds in a spice grinder.

In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the sausage and cook over moderate heat until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a plate, cover and refrigerate.

Add the escarole, carrots, celery, onion, fennel, garlic, thyme and ground caraway seeds to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the ham bone and broth and bring to a boil. Add the peas, cover partially and simmer until the peas are tender, about 1 hour.

Gently mash some of the peas to thicken the broth. Thinly slice the sausage, add it to the soup and simmer until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season the stew with sea salt and white pepper.

Serve with white vinegar, hot sauce and bread.

MAKE AHEAD – The stew can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Photograph by Stephanie Meyer.