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Split Pea Soup with Smoked Pork

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Pork
Make 8 Main Course Servings

Note: A “bouquet garni” is spices wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with butcher’s string. Truth is, I’m a bit lazy and find that a tea ball does the job with less fuss! Just fill it with the prescribed amount of whole spices, screw on the top and hang it from its hook and chain inside the pot.

This soup freezes well and can be prepared up to three days in advance. Like a stew, it just gets better with time. It should be thick and creamy and is a snap to make. Double the recipe and you can stash some for yet another snowy day!

Generally, pork butt is found in your local supermarket next to the bacon and pre-packaged deli meats.

Ingredients:
1 lb. dried split green peas – $0.79
1 ½ cups celery, chopped – $0.99
1 ½ cups carrots, peeled and chopped – $0.49
1 medium sweet onion (i.e. Maui or Vidalia), chopped – $0.69
2 lbs. smoked pork butt (you can also use leftover ham from a roast, just chop it up and use that in place of the smoked pork in the directions) – $9.64
8 cups water
Bouquet Garni: ½ Teaspoon whole allspice, ½ Teaspoon whole black peppercorns, and 1 Bay leaf – stock
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $12.60
Total Per Serving: $1.58

Directions:
1. In a large Dutch oven, combine the pork butt, chopped vegetables, dried peas, and water. Bring to a boil. (If you’re using leftover ham chunks instead of a whole pork butt, you’d still add the chopped ham at this stage).

2. Reduce the heat and add the bouquet garni. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Transfer the pork butt to a cutting board. Taste the soup and correct the seasonings, adding salt and pepper if needed.

4. If serving the soup with pork sandwiches as described in the intro, slice some of the meat for the sandwiches, trimming off any fat. Save about half of the smoked pork to cut into bite-size chunks and return them to the soup pot. Serve at once, layering the pork slices on buttered rye bread.