Split Pea Bacon Soup, The Comfort of Green
Cold weather calls for deep comfort. Nothing warms you from the inside out like a steaming bowl of Split Pea Bacon Soup.
A twist on a Canadian classic, made when the larder was low and fresh produce was hard to find. Split pea soup is often made using a ham hock, but you really don’t need a ham bone to make a great pot of soup when you have bacon.
Starchy and smooth with the underlying smokiness that only a good bacon gives, this Split Pea Bacon soup recipe starts with a bacon stock. The stock is then strained, and reserved and the bacon and onions are lightly roasted in the oven to crisp. This step changes the texture of the bacon from soggy and chewy to toasted and tasty. From that point, this soup pretty much cooks itself, one quick blend and – soup’s on.
Looking for lunch? Pair with a savory scone or a piece of rye toast. Eat well. Feel great.
Split Pea Bacon Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Serves: six to eight
2 pounds double smoked bacon, cut into to chunky strips
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme ( or 2 sprigs fresh)
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups dry green (or yellow) split peas
1) Bacon Stock: In a deep pot over medium heat, add bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until fat is evenly rendered and bacon is opaque; about three minutes. Add onions and garlic and sweat, stir as needed to mix and cook evenly until onions are transparent, another three minutes or so. Add water, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
2) Remove pot from heat and strain bacon stock into a bowl, reserving solids. Add stock back to pot and return to medium heat. Add chicken stock and bring to low boil. Add split peas and reduce heat to low simmer, stirring occasionally to ensure peas do not settle and stick to the bottom. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes, until peas are soft and crush easily between your fingertips.
3) Preheat oven to 350°F (145°C). While the peas cook, take stock solids and spread them onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Remove bay leaf, thyme sprigs if used and most of the peppercorns then place remaining ingredients, onions & bacon, and toast them in the oven for 6 to 10 minutes until firm and lightly toasted. Remove from oven and reserve.
4) When split peas are easily mash-able, blend lightly with an immersion blender being sure you leave enough chunky bits so that it still has that classic green pea soup look. Stir in roasted bacon and onions and return to the heat if needed.
The result is smooth and creamy, with just enough tooth to make you feel like you’re eating adult food. Garnish with crisp bacon or brioche croutons and dig in.