by / Sunday, February 24, 2013

Country Split Pea Soup w/ Bacon & Potatoes {Souper #SundaySupper}

Every once in a while I do something rare - I fall in love with a bowl of thick soup.  I've mentioned before (you know, once or twenty-two times...) that I am a brothy soup kind of girl.  I turn up my nose at "soups" that look like baby food.  But then, something like this pot of hearty, rustic...and thick...soup jumps up, slaps me hard across the face, and calls me a liar.
The thing is, I think my appreciation for this particular bowl of soup comes from one simple ingredient - the humble split pea.  Okay, there's bacon in it, too - and that never hurts.  But I'm a sucker for any type of peasant food.  A hearty bowl of split peas, a warm hunk of bread ripped from a loaf just out of the oven, maybe a bottle of wine...
At first glance, you probably wouldn't guess that this was a split pea soup.  I mean, it's orange.  Split peas are green.  It's all very confusing.  Okay, not really.  Not only is there split peas in here, there's also a good amount of veggies.  Yes, mainly carrots.  Ah ha!  Alas, if you think this is sounding like far too virtuous a bowl of goodness for you, don't fret.  I mentioned bacon, remember!?

So just for today, let's dust off our old silver baby spoons and dig in!  Are you with me?

Country Split Pea Soup w/ Bacon & Potatoes

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Keywords: soup/stew split peas bacon legumes carrots American fall winter

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 6 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
  • 1 lb. dried green split peas
  • 2½ quarts (10 c.) chicken stock + more as needed
  • 2 Tbs. dry sherry
  • hot sauce, optional
  • 2 cooked Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • herbs to garnish (parsley/chives/thyme), optional
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Saute until the veggies have begun to soften a bit, 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the split peas and the chicken stock; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the peas are tender and soft, ~1 hour.

Remove from heat; add sherry and a few dashes of hot sauce, if using. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth (or do this carefully in batches using a blender).

Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary with salt and pepper (remember you're about to add salty bacon). Stir in the potatoes.

Ladle into warm soup bowls and divide the bacon amongst them. If you wish, scatter some fresh herbs over the whole thing and enjoy!

If you're not serving this all right away, you can either reserve the remaining cooked bacon and add it once you've reheated the soup, or you stir it into the soup and let it flavor the soup.

You can easily make this a vegetarian option by omitting the bacon (eeek!) and using vegetable stock, quick vegetable broth or simple garlic broth in place of the chicken stock.

adapted from New England Soup Factory Cookbook
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So you guessed it - today is a SOUPER #SundaySupper.  All Soup.  All day long.  Hosted by the lovely Pam of The Meltaways, our table overfloweth with steaming (okay, a few cold) pots of soup this week.

Do the Chicken Dance
Where's the Beef?
Pass the Pork, please!
Under the Sea
Eat Your Veggies
Some (don't) Like it Hot

Sunday Supper MovementI'd love to hear about some of your favorite Warming (or chilled) Soups!  Feel free to leave links and/or recipes in the comments.  Also, feel free to join us for our live twitter chat tonight at 7pm (Eastern) using the#SundaySupper hashtag, and check out the Sunday Supper board on Pinterest
I am also sending this over to my friend Deb at Kahakai Kitchen, where EVERY Sunday is SOUPER!

Heather is a Michiana-based food, drink, and travel writer with a fondness for garlic, freshly baked bread, stinky cheese, single malt Scotch, and Mexican food—who believes that immersing herself in different cultures one bite at a time is the best path to enlightenment.

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