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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!
Split pea soup is one of my favorite soups. Over the years, I have made this soup many times, however this last time I made it was the absolute best! You may think so as well. What makes this soup different from the typical split pea soup? First, is the addition of cream to the recipe. Second is the surprise garnish that I used! Read on and see what I mean.
Now, on to the recipe! Be well, and good eating!
Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon
This soup will store well in the refrigerator for about a week if it isn't all eaten sooner than that. You could also freeze it for longer storage. This soup makes an excellent introductory course to a gourmet meal, or for that special occasion.
1 lb. dried split peas (green or yellow)
1 lb. good quality bacon, fried crisp
1 cup finely diced celery (1/8 inch squares)
1 cup finely diced carrot (1/8 inch squares)
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried summer savory
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 quarts water (or more if needed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 green onion, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. corn starch
Crumbled feta cheese
Begin by rinsing the dried peas in a colander under running water. You may soak the peas overnight to reduce cooking time, but this is not absolutely necessary. Chop the bacon and fry it until crisp in a skillet. Reserve about 2 Tbsp. of the bacon grease for simmering the vegetables.
In a large pot over medium heat, simmer the diced onions in 2 Tbsp. of the bacon grease until they are glazed, about 4 minutes. Add 3/4 of the celery and carrot and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the peas, bay leaf and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, adding a little more water if necessary. Remove bay leaf after simmering.
Now add the dried seasonings, thyme, marjoram, savory, salt and pepper. Also add half of the chopped fresh parsley. Dissolve the corn starch in the cream and add to the pot. Now, take a hand blender/chopper and puree the soup carefully until a creamy texture is obtained. Next add the bacon and remaining finely diced celery and carrots to the soup. Adjust the seasonings if necessary and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Serve the soup in bowls and garnish each bowl with a little diced green onion, a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and crumbled feta cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Optionally, you may serve the garnishes at the table for your guests to add to their own bowls. I have found that people like to keep adding the crumbled feta as they eat this soup. This slightly salty cheese gives a burst of flavor when it melts in your mouth.