- Cooking Time: 120
- Servings: 8
- Preparation Time: 20
- 5 slices bacon
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 large celery rib, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (32 oz.) cartons low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-1/2 cups green split peas, rinsed
- 1 (5 oz.) bag baby mixed greens
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- The croutons:
- 8 thin, frozen slices firm pumpernickel bread
- 1 Tbsp butter, melted
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup sour cream, optional
- Make soup:
- Saute bacon in large pot over medium-high heat until crisp and brown. Remove and set aside.
- Add onion, carrot and celery to pan; saute until vegetables begin to soften.
- Add garlic; saute for 1 minute.
- Add broth, water, peas, bay leaves and thyme; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pot and simmer until vegetables are tender and peas fall apart, stirring occasionally, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Puree 5 cups soup in batches in blender.
- Return to pot.
- Stir in salt and season with pepper to taste.
- Make croutons:
- Preheat oven to 300ºF
- Remove pumpernickel slices from freezer and let thaw for 5 minutes.
- Mix butter with olive oil in a small bowl.
- Use a cat cookie cutter to cut a shape from each partially frozen slice of pumpernickel.
- Lightly brush cutouts with butter mixture and arrange on a cookie sheet.
- Bake until crisp, about 15 minutes.
- Cool croutons in pan on a rack.
- To serve, ladle soup into bowls.
- Crumble reserved bacon on top.
- Add a cat crouton and a dollop of sour cream to each bowl.
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