Grandma sofie's split pea soup with french bread croutons

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 pounds Split peas
½ pounds Bacon
1 large Onion; chopped
2 larges Stalks celery
3 tablespoons Parsley; chopped
1 \N Loaf sourdough French bread
¼ cup Butter; or more if needed
1 \N Garlic clove; minced (opt.)



This is NOT low-fat, low-calorie, or low _anything_ for that matter, but absolutely delicious and an all-time family favorite! Rinse peas in cold water and bring to a boil in 3 quarts of water. Cut bacon small and brown with onion. Add with drippings to peas. Cook until peas are soft and just starting to disintegrate, about one hour, stirring occasionally to prevent the solids from settling out and sticking to the bottom of the pot. Chop celery small and add with parsley to the soup and cook until the celery is soft, about 15 minutes more. Thin with water if necessary to the proper consistency; it should be like light cream with little bits of pea still visible. If too thick, it is more like 'pea porridge' and not as appetizing.

Meanwhile, make the croutons. Cut the bread (leave crust on) into ¾" cubes. Melt the butter in a frying pan (Grandma Sofie used a heavy cast iron one), and when the foam is just through dying down but before the butter begins to brown, add the bread cubes in batches sized according to the size of your pan: The croutons should never be more than one layer deep.

Sometimes Grandma Sofie sauteed a little bit of garlic in the butter before adding the bread and sometimes not -- the croutons are good both ways. I think that living all of her life in California sometimes overrode her German upbringing and that's how the garlic snuck in! Fry the bread cubes over MEDIUM heat until dark golden, stirring and tossing frequently to brown on all sides. Take your time about this, as if you get the butter too hot it will burn and taste bitter. If the croutons are done correctly, they will be crisp and fairly dry and light enough to float on top of the soup.

Ladle the hot soup into bowls and pass the croutons in a basket for each person to add at the table.

Note that you _could_ get by with a half a loaf of French bread for the croutons, but only if you're alone while you're making the soup. Otherwise, the croutons have a tendency to 'dissappear' when you're not looking! From: My husbands maternal grandmother Sofie Schmidt Murray, 1892-1980. She was one of those cooks who never used recipes; I wrote this down one time while watching her make it. -- Linda Hurlbert Shogren (hurlbert@...)

Recipe by: Sofie Schmidt Murray Posted to MC-Recipe Digest V1 #737 by hurlbert <hurlbert@...> on Aug 12, 1997

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