Split Pea Soup

My mother used to make this soup when she could get a really good bacon rind. I have given up on the bacon rind and have been adding cut-up ham or the lean part of “old fashioned” bacon during the last couple of hours of cooking. Most recipes for split pea soup call for a ham bone to season the soup, but this is how I like it. It is insanely great on a cold day.

1 bag of dried split peas (larger of the 2 sizes - 24 ounces, I believe)

3 quarts or so of water (whatever it takes to bring the water to 2 inches or so above the peas

4 - 5 medium yellow onions

1 bacon rind (whole) or ham, about a half pound

salt - at least a teaspoonful, probably a lot more

white pepper-–maybe a half teaspoon (Go easy, it’s hot)

As I recall, my mom used to rinse the peas, then bring them to a hard boil, throw in the onions, cut randomly in quarters, and the bacon rind and leave it on low all night, then in the morning remove the bacon rind, stir, add salt, and white pepper. The onions should pretty much disintegrate. My stove doesn’t go low enough for all night, and she had a very heavy big pot. So I would guess that 4 - 5 hours or so might do it on a normal burner. You can always add more water. Might be a great thing for a crock pot. I use the pressure cooker if I'm in a hurry. The instructions for the pressure cooker say that you shouldn't cook split peas with it because of all the foam that forms which can clog the vent. I bring it to a boil and skim before I pressurize and so far have not had any difficulty. This cuts the time down to about 15 minutes under pressure, then allow to cool gradually.

-Marion Hutchins