Cindy Strawser informed us that this is National Split Pea Soup Week. Here is the recipe I made up to celebrate the occasion.
Larry says it is the best split pea soup he has ever had. Score one for me!
Prepare the vegetables, and melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add vegetables and cook over medium heat until softened. Add the proscuitto and the hot dog (cut into 1/4" rounds) and stir. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Add water and chicken broth to the pot containing the vegetables and meats. Add split peas which have been picked over to remove any small stones or questionable looking peas. Stir well.
Stab a toothpick through the two bay leaves and the garlic clove and add to pot. (This makes them easier to find and remove before serving.) Add remaining seasonings and stir.
Simmer on medium-low until the peas are tender and falling apart. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching the bottom. (See note below for thicker soup.)
Remove parsley sprigs and toothpick with bay leaves and garlic. For smoother soup, scoop out a cup or more, remove the hotdog slices (return to pot) and blend in a blender or food processor. Return blended soup to the pot and heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve with a nice crusty bread and salad, or with a grilled cheese sandwich. You can also add some creme fraiche or a dollop of sour cream to the top when serving and stir it in when you eat. Chopped parsley is also an optional garnish.
Note: This is a soup, not a thick "stoup". If you like your split pea soup thicker, increase the split peas (up to 1 3/4 to 2 cups) or thicken it with either a roux of butter and flour or a slurry of flour and water during the final cooking process.
I will tell you that if you use this recipe and let the soup sit and reheat it, it will be thicker. So if you are going to eat it right away, use the larger amount of peas, but if you plan on making it earlier in the day and reheating it, it will be thickened more. If it gets too thick, just add a little chicken broth to thin it.