- 1 pound dry split peas
- 8 ounces bacon, diced
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 quarts water
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled, diced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- 3 beef bouillon cubes or equivalent base or granules
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup half-and-half
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.
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.
Discard bay leaf. Blend pea soup in batches, filling blender no more than 2/3 full each time. Make sure cover is secure when blending the hot mixture. Pour blended mixture into a bowl while blending subsequent batches.
Return the mixture to the Dutch oven; stir in the half-and-half. Cook over medium heat until hot, but do not boil. Sprinkle bacon on top of the soup just before serving.
Serves 10 to 12.