Yield: Serves about 4-6
6 slices thick-cut, apple-smoked bacon, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 pound green split peas, picked through and rinsed
6 cups hot chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Squeeze of lemon
Rustic Garlic-Butter Croutons (recipe below)
Place a medium-large or large soup pot over medium-high heat, and add in just a small drizzle of oil; once the oil is hot, add in the chopped bacon, and cook until golden and crispy; remove bacon with a slotted spoon, set aside, and wipe out most of the bacon grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon worth in the pot.
Place the pot back on medium heat, and add in the butter; once melted, add in the onion, celery, and carrot, and saute those for a couple of minutes just until they begin to become tender.
Add in the marjoram, a pinch or two of salt, the black pepper, and the garlic, and stir to combine; cook for a moment or two until the garlic becomes aromatic.
Add in the split peas, along with the stock, and stir to combine; bring the soup up to a rolling simmer/boil, and then cover, and reduce the heat to low, simmering the soup very gently for about 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the peas have split and are tender.
Finish the soup by adding in the chopped parsley and the thyme, along with a squeeze of lemon juice, and check to see if any additional salt or pepper is needed.
Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with some of the Rustic Garlic-Butter croutons, and a generous sprinkle of the crispy bacon.
Rustic Garlic-Butter Croutons:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
8 ounces ciabatta bread, sliced into ½" thick slices, and then cubed into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 425°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave for a few moments; to it add the pressed garlic cloves, a pinch of black pepper, a couple of pinches of salt, and the Italian seasoning, and mix with a fork to combine.
Place the cubed ciabatta into a medium-size bowl, and pour the butter mixture evenly over the cubes; toss to coat, and pour the cubes out in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake for about 12-15 minutes, tossing the cubes occasionally for even crisping/browning.
Remove from oven and allow the cubes to cool completely on the baking sheet; use immediately, or keep in a ziplock. (You can re-crisp them, if necessary, in a low-heat toaster oven for about 8-10 minutes.)
bacon recipe source: Ingrid Beer, The Cozy Apron (@TheCozyApron), March 1, 2015