Split Pea Soup

This is my favorite split pea soup recipe. The recipe is from James Peterson’s Splendid Soups and it yields a bright green light soup. I always half this recipe, which makes about 4 servings. I use bacon, not pancetta, and I skip the straining in the third direction.


  • 1/2 pounds slab bacon or pancetta (unrolled), rind removed, cut into 1×1/4″ strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil if you’re using pancetta
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cups green split peas
  • 2 quarts chicken broth or water
  • 1 clove
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 2 10 oz packages of frozen peas
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Cook the bacon in a 4-quart pot over medium heat until it just begins to turn crisp, about 10 minutes. If you’re using pancetta, cook it in olive oil, because it doesn’t provide enough fat of its own. Remove the strips with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Cook the onions in the fat left in the pot until they soften and turn translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the split peas, broth, clove, and bouquet garni, cover the pot, and simmer for about 1 hour, until the split peas are completely soft.
  3. Add the frozen peas and heavy cream and bring to the soup to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and puree, a bit at a time, in a blender or food processor. Strain the puree through a medium-mesh trainer. If you want to thin the soup, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer or simply thin it with extra broth or water.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, ladle into individual bowls, and garnish with the reserved bacon or pancetta and, if you like, croutons sizzled in butter.

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