Chase Away The Chill With Hearty Soup

Cold weather is just around the corner. One of the fastest ways to warm up when chilly temperatures set in is by enjoying hearty, hot soups at mealtime. People may have their preferred go-to soups to warm up. Split Pea Soup can be included in anyone’s recipe collection. Soup lovers who want to do just that can try this recipe for “Puree of Split Pea Soup” courtesy of “The Culinary Institute of America Book of Soups” (Lebhar-Friedman Books) by The Culinary Institute of America.

Puree of Split Pea Soup
Makes 8 servings

4 strips bacon, minced
1 medium onion, diced (about 11⁄4 cups)
1 carrot, diced (about 1⁄3 cup)
1 celery stalk, diced (about 1⁄2 cup)
1 leek, white and light green part, diced (about 11⁄4 cups)
6 cups chicken broth
2 yellow or white potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
1⁄2 pound split green or yellow peas, or lentils
1 smoked ham hock
Sachet: 1 bay leaf, 1 whole clove, 1 garlic clove, and 4 to 5 peppercorns, enclosed in a large teaball or tied in a cheesecloth pouch
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup croutons

1. Cook the bacon in a soup pot over medium-high heat until crisp and brown. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels and set aside. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and leek; stir to evenly coat with fat. Cover the pot and cook the vegetables over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Add the broth, potatoes, peas, and ham hock. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sachet and simmer until the split peas are soft, about 30 minutes. Skim away any scum during simmering.

3. Remove the sachet and discard. Remove the ham hock and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the ham off the bone, dice, and set aside.

4. Strain the soup through a sieve, reserving the liquid. Puree the solids and return them to the pot. Add enough of the reserved liquid to achieve a thick consistency. Blend well. Stir in the ham and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls, garnished with croutons.

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