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Split Pea Soup
From The James Beard Cookbook

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups of split peas
1 bay leaf
Ham bone
2 to 3 quarts of water
1 onion, stuck with 2 cloves
1/2 cup of tomato purée
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 stalk of celery

Instructions:

In a large kettle, put the peas, ham bone, onion, celery, bay leaf, and 2 to 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until the split peas are soft and mushy enough to be sieved, about 2 hours. Remove the ham bone and puree the soup by putting it in a food processor or through a food mill. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Add the tomato puree and cream and return to the stove. Bring to a boil. Serve with croutons fried in butter until crisp.

Note: If you prefer, you may substitute bacon rind, a slice of ham or a small pork butt for the ham bone.

Variations:

With kidney beans: Substitute red kidney beans for the split peas and flavor with a few dashes of Madeira or sherry wine at the last minute.

With black beans: Substitute black beans for the split peas and flavor with Madeira or sherry wine. Serve with lemon slices.

With white pea beans: Substitute white pea beans for the split peas and serve topped with crumbled bacon bits.

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