This past winter I really haven't been into soup but now that we're deep in spring, all I seem to want is comforting soups. We've had two different soups on repeat in our food rotation; a dairy free tomato bisque and split pea soup. Up until recently, my attempts at split pea always turned out rather bland - but I've finally worked away at the recipe to get what I want. My theory is that I was missing a very key ingredient: bacon. And not just added bacon to the final soup, but cooking it in the same pot that you're soup will spend two hours simmering away in.
For a vegan version of this soup, you could easily skip the bacon all together and just cook the vegetables in 2 tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil. Adding some slices of cooked shiitake mushrooms would help pump up the flavor in somewhat similar way to the bacon.
Split Pea Soup with Bacon
In a large pot, on medium heat, cook the bacon slices.
Remove the slices and place to the side, leaving the grease in the pot.
Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and cook until the onion is translucent.
Add the thyme leaves and split peas.
Stir and cook till fragrant, about 1 minute or so.
Add the vegetable broth and 32 ounces of water.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook on medium low heat for 1 hour.
Add the remaining 32 ounces of water, cover, and cook on medium low heat for another hour.
Remove from heat, puree with an immersion blender (or carefully pour into a regular blender).
Add the cooked bacon slices and salt, stir and serve.
Makes about 6 servings.
What are your favorite comfort soups?