We have lots of snow and it was five below zero a couple nights ago. That can only mean one thing; it is hot soup season!! I love having a pot of soup on the stove (or in the slow cooker) all weekend. This is a great classic recipe for split pea soup; it is quick, easy, packed with flavor and one of our favorite soups.
1 cup onion chopped (I like Vidalia or sweet onions)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 pound dried split peas (rinsed)
2 quarts chicken stock
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons salt (see important note below)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cream (or half and half)
In a large stock pot, saute onion, celery and carrots together in a tablespoon of vegetable (or canola) oil for a few minutes (they don't have to be cooked all the way through).
Add the split peas, chicken stock, potatoes, ham, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer slowly (covered) for about an hour or until the peas are very soft (stir occasionally).
Now you have to process the soup in a food processor or blender (stick blenders don't work very well for this), so work in small batches, processing the soup until very smooth and thick.
Return the soup to the stock pot and add the cream (or half and half). Stir well and reheat , but don't boil. When you serve it, top it with some crisp fried bacon (optional). I like to decorate each bowl with a rolled up slice of bacon (looks like a "bacon rose" lol).
NOTE: Don't automatically add the 2 teaspoons of salt before you consider the following. If you are using home made chicken stock that has not been salted, go ahead and use the 2 teaspoons of salt.
If you are using a soup base, like McCormicks soup base (a fantastic product), well it has salt in it (but not as much salt as bullion).