Saturday, November 9, 2013

Split Pea & Bacon Soup from the Pressure Cooker

Split Pea and Bacon Soup
As shared from the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate by Mari
8 servings

Special equipment, Pressure cooker (stovetop or electric type)

1 pound split peas, rinsed and picked over for any debris/pebbles, etc.
8 cups water or broth/stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 pound thick cut bacon cut into 1/2-inch strips, crosswise
   or 1 pound salt pork, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
   May use a smoked ham hock, or 3/4 to 1-pound ham chunks
1 onion diced
2 large carrots, peeled if desired, diced 
2 or 3 ribs celery, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled or scant 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
A bay leaf, or two
Splash or two of sherry wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional for garnish:

Reserve some of the cooked bacon
Crisp, buttery croutons
A small lump of butter for each serving
Small sprigs of fresh thyme

PRESSURE COOKER METHOD: Before beginning recipe, make sure your pot is large enough, do not fill over 1/2 full, per pressure cookers instructions.

In the pot of the pressure cooker sauté bacon until almost done, slightly crisp but not brittle. Remove bacon from pot, place on a paper towel lined plate, set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from pot, add onions and sauté until translucent but not browned, add diced carrots and celery, cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. If using a ham bone or chunk ham omit browning and add 1 tablespoon oil to the pressure cooker pot and sauté  the onion, carrots and celery as directed above, then continue with recipe as follows:

Add rinsed and sorted peas, water/stock, thyme, bay leaf to pot.

Bring contents of pot to a boil over medium heat, lock pressure cooker lid in place (if your cooker has a pressure rocker, put it in place.) Bring pressure cooker to full pressure, set timer for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, remove pot from heat and allow pressure to disperse naturally.  When pressure is released remove lid from pot (tipping lid away from you as you do so.)  If using ham bone, remove ham from bone and shred or chop meat from bone and return to pot.)  Remove bay leaf and discard.  Stir content of pot, add a splash or two of sherry if using. Taste soup for seasonings adding salt and pepper to taste.  To serve garnish as you desire; with reserved bacon, croutons, a pat of butter, thyme springs, freshly ground pepper, etc.