Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Use Your Spices: Split Pea & Bacon Soup

I have to admit, I'd never made split pea soup before, but wanted to try it out.  My concern was that it would be very bland or very green, neither of which were likely to appeal to our kids.  I searched around the web for instructions and then made my own version. I so liked the result that I'm going to share it here in hopes I'll remember to make it again and that maybe you will too!

 Split Pea & Bacon Soup

8 slices of bacon
3 medium carrots
1 medium onion
2 celery stalks (Ok, we, as usual, were out, but I suspect they would be great here).
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1lb dried split peas
2 cups of chicken stock
2 Tbs. Summit County*
1/4 tsp Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper
1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp Smoked Sweet Spanish Paprika (optional - added at the end)

*This is a Savory Spice Blend -- it is salt free and contains - Ingredients:
Black pepper, garlic, tomato powder, red and green bell peppers, garlic, onion, fennel, arrowroot, lemon peel, marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano 

First, cut the bacon, carrots, and onion into a fine dice (I added these and the garlic to a food processor and pulsed until they were the desired size). Add the first four ingredients to a medium skillet over low heat.  Let cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders from the bacon and the vegetables are soft and starting to brown.  Doing this slowly yields a richer flavor, but technically they could be added straight to the soup without this browning face... but seriously, take a few minutes here to get the most flavorful soup.  I think I let mine cook about 20 minutes stirring every now and again as I did the laundry, dishes, and straightening up the kitchen.

Add all the ingredients to a crock pot and set to low for four-five hours.  My crock pot seems to run hot so it may take a bit less time in yours.  Alternatively, you could cook on the stove in a large pot for maybe an hour and a half or a bit more. You want the peas to start breaking down and be very soft.  Taste and consider if additional paprika, salt,  or pepper is needed. 

Serve with sour cream and crusty bread.  

(Ok, we served ours with the Smitten Kitchen's Maple Bacon Biscuits... which was delicious too). 

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