Spring Split Pea Soup with Bacon & Croutons
It's been awhile since I posted a soup recipe. I actually make and eat soup all the time, but I (somewhat boringly) stick to a regular rotation of recipes that I've already posted: Tuscan White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard, Spicy Black Bean Soup, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Spinach, and Sprouted Lentil Soup with Kale. (I also love Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Pears and Potato Leek Soup. And once the weather is hot, I'm all about gazpacho.) But recently, I tried an incredibly delicious split pea soup at Cantine Parisienne (a.k.a. my occasional office), made spring-ier with the addition of fresh peas, and garnished with crisp bacon and croutons. It was a brilliant green color, creamy in texture, and I loved the smoky contrast of the bacon with the sweetness of the peas. So, as I always do when I taste something I love, I went home and tried to recreate it.
The soup I came up with is ultra simple, yet deeply flavorful. I love the combo of earthy split peas and sweet fresh peas, and the crunch of the croutons and bacon. I used frozen petites pois (a slightly smaller, sweeter variety), but if you feel up to shelling fresh peas, go for it. The soup simmers for about 30 minutes, and then you just puree it with some fresh parsley in a blender or (even easier!) with an immersion blender. For a little extra flavor, I sautéed the bread cubes in the bacon grease – it's pretty delicious, I won't lie. Serve the croutons either on the side, or in the soup as a garnish, along with the bacon and a few extra fresh peas. (If you're vegetarian, eliminate the bacon, or if you're gluten-free, don't use the croutons. At its base, the soup is actually vegan.)
I am beyond thrilled to see little signs of spring emerging in NYC: bright sunshine, longer daylight hours, tulips and cherry blossom branches for sale. But given that the weather is still pretty chilly, this soup is the perfect transition from winter into spring. I'd happily serve it for a casual weeknight dinner party, along with a crusty loaf of bread and a good salad. And any leftovers will reheat well as a take-to-work lunch. Enjoy!
P.S. Thanks to all of you who entered in the Better on Toast Giveaway!! Tomorrow I'm launching a new weekly Friday newsletter that will have dinner party ideas, seasonal recipes, fun stuff I'm reading...AND I'll be announcing the winner of the contest in the newsletter, so sign up with your email address (up in the little box on the right side of the blog, where it says "Cookbook Diaries") in order to stay in the loop! And feel free to enter the giveaway if you haven't already – it closes tonight at midnight EST.
(Photos by Olivia Funk)[recipe:best-spring-split-pea-soup-bacon-croutons-recipe]