With Christmas just a few days away, I’m a cook’s version of Jekyll and Hyde. Either I’m in the kitchen for long periods of time or I’m not in the kitchen at all. No middle ground this time of year.
When you’d rather be doing something else — Nutcracker, last-minute shopping, whatever — but don’t want to keep eating out, try this easy Split Pea Soup. It goes together quickly so you can make it early in the day and then refrigerate it, pulling it out hours later when you need it. Note that split pea soup usually calls for ham bone. I like to use nitrite- and nitrate-free bacon instead; it’s easier to find, and I can use remaining slices in other go-to recipes like frittatas. I also cook the carrots separately and add them back in before serving so I can puree the soup without losing all the bright flecks of color.
Split Pea Soup with Bacon
6-8 bacon slices, chopped or cut into small pieces with kitchen shears
2 large carrots, small diced
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
7 cups low-salt chicken broth or water
2 1/2 cups green split peas, rinsed
3 bay leaves
Cook bacon in a large pot. While it’s cooking, boil carrots in a small pot of water until done. Drain and set carrots aside. When bacon is crisp, add onions and garlic and sauté about 7 minutes. Add broth, peas, and bay leaves and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the peas are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove bay leaves and puree soup to desired texture, either with an immersion blender or by putting a portion of the soup in a food processor or blender. Add in diced carrots and season to taste with salt and pepper. As soup cools, it will thicken so add more broth or water as necessary.