Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's So Easy Being Green - Split Pea Soup with Bacon

It's raining in Portland today. It's cool and cloudy and it's the perfect day for soup! So far this week I've made Garlic Soup and a quick thrown-together chicken noodle, both of which were in response to the colds going around. Today I'm in the mood for something different and have decided to make a pot of Split Pea with Bacon.

I can already hear all of you Split Pea purists out there screaming "What?! No ham??" You will hear no apologies from me, however, as there are a couple of reasons for my replacing ham with bacon. First, and most importantly, I really can't stand ham! Something about the flavor just doesn't sit well with me. I don't mind fresh ham but I don't usually have any on hand since I tend to avoid this cut of pork. Secondly, and of equal importance, we have a wonderful little Russian meat market called Overseas Taste right down the street from us that smokes all their own meat! They have what I feel to be the best bacon anywhere, a twice smoked slab bacon that is out of this world! I will find any reason I can to use it, including tossing out the ham in pea soup! 'Nuff said!

In addition the the wonderful local bacon, Kat (as I mentioned in the last post) had brought home an assortment of fresh veggies, among them a colorful variety of carrots! Besides the standard orange, we also have yellow and purple carrots. These will make for an unorthodox but vivid looking pea soup!

I start with:
3/4 - 1 lb. slab bacon, diced into 1/4" chunks
Brown the bacon over medium heat in a large stock pot until it is nice and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside to drain. Pour off the excess grease and add to the pan:
1 large onion, chopped
Cook until the onion just begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add:
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
Stir in to the onions and cook for a couple of minutes, then add:
1/4 c white wine or vermouth
Stir up the fond from the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to high and add:
8 c water
2 c dried peas
2 bay leaves
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
2 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t salt (or more, to taste)

Bring the soup to a boil and reduce heat back down to medium. Simmer for one hour. Add the bacon along with:
2-3 carrots, chopped
Continue cooking until peas have softened and carrots are tender, about 30-45 minutes. Remove the rosemary stem and the bay leaves. Serve, garnished with chopped parsley if you like.

The nice thing about pea soup is that, of all the dried legumes, peas cook fairly quick. A bean soup can take all day but Split Pea can be cooked in less than 2 hours. Plus, it's one of the simplest soups you can make! Who says it's not easy being green?


  1. Sounds great! I'll choose bacon over ham any day as well ;)

  2. I like the hock, but I would never turn down bacon. ;)

  3. have not seen a purple carrot before.

  4. Bacon makes everything taste better, so I'm sure it's fabulous in your soup.