Creamy Split Pea Soup with Bacon

Split Pea Soup
Split Pea Soup. Debbi Smirnoff/E+/Getty Images
  • 90 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 70 mins
  • Yield: 12 Servings (12 portions)
Ratings (10)

My first memory of pea soup is one my grandfather made for a huge gathering of family and friends. It was thick and hearty, served with homemade bread, and I have loved split pea soup ever since.

This version is made with a generous amount of bacon for garnish, along with a few potatoes and other vegetables to help thicken and flavor the soup. The half-and-half gives the soup a nice creamy consistency.

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound dry split peas
  • 8 ounces bacon (diced)
  • 2 ribs celery (chopped)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 medium potatoes (peeled, diced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 3 chicken (or beef bouillon cubes or equivalent base or granules)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Salt and freshly ground  black pepper (to taste)

How to Make It

  1. Rinse split peas in cold water, pick over and discard any discolored peas or small stones. Set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven or 6-quart kettle over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Refrigerate until later, for garnish.
  3. In the bacon drippings over medium heat, cook the onion and celery until tender and lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the split peas, water, potatoes, salt, pepper, bouillon, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes, or until peas are soft. Stir occasionally.
  1. Discard bay leaf. Carefully purée the hot pea soup in batches, filling the blender no more than 1/3 to 1/2 full each time. Make sure cover is secure when blending the hot mixture. Pour blended mixture into a bowl while blending subsequent batches.
  2. Return the mixture to the Dutch oven; stir in the half-and-half. Cook over medium heat until hot, but do not boil. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Sprinkle the reserved bacon on top of the soup just before serving.