Thursday, April 21, 2011

Split Pea Soup

As soup season comes to a close, I thought I'd squeeze one more bowl in just under the wire. And since I made croutons yesterday, split pea seemed like the perfect choice. The textures are great...the tops of the croutons stay crunchy, while the submerged parts soak up the soup and soften (and then there's the creaminess of the soup itself). It's very hearty and satisfying. And incredibly flavorful (what with all that bacon).

Serves 6

20 oz. smoked bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup peeled, chopped carrots
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 lb. bag green split peas
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sourdough garlic croutons for serving (optional)

1.      In a large, heavy pot (or Dutch oven), cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, chop the bacon. 
2.      Remove all but 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Add onion, celery and carrots. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
3.      Add chopped bacon and marjoram; stir for 1 minute.
4.      Add split peas, stock and water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover pot and simmer soup until vegetables are tender and peas are falling apart, stirring often (about 1 hour and 10 minutes).
5.      Puree soup using immersion blender (leave slightly chunky for texture). Season with salt and pepper. Serve with croutons, if desired.

adapted from Patricia Murray (County Kerry, Ireland)

cooked bacon (make sure you buy
smoked, it definitely adds to the soup)
chopping celery
chopping carrots
chopped bacon
vegetables with bacon added
split peas
split peas added
stock and water added

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