*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
 
         Grandma Sofie’s Split Pea Soup with French Bread Croutons
 
 Recipe By     : Sofie Schmidt Murray
 Serving Size  : 6    Preparation Time :0:00
 Categories    : Soups                            Winter
                 Guest                            Family
 
   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
 --------  ------------  --------------------------------
                         -----SOUP-----
    1       lb           Split peas
      1/2   lb           Bacon
    1       lg           Onion -- chopped
    2       lg           Stalks celery
    3       tb           Parsley -- chopped
                         -----CROUTONS-----
    1                    Loaf sourdough French bread
      1/4   c            Butter -- or more if needed
    1                    Garlic clove -- minced (opt.)
 
   This is NOT low-fat, low-calorie, or low _anything_ for that matter,
 but
   absolutely delicious and an all-time family favorite!
   
   Rinse peas in cold water and bring to a boil in 3 quarts of water. 
 Cut
   bacon small and brown with onion.  Add with drippings to peas.  Cook
 until
   peas are soft and just starting to disintegrate, about one hour,
 stirring
   occasionally to prevent the solids from settling out and sticking to
 the
   bottom of the pot. Chop celery small and add with parsley to the soup
 and
   cook until the celery is soft, about 15 minutes more.  Thin with water
 if
   necessary to the proper consistency; it should be like light cream
 with
   little bits of pea still visible. If too thick, it is more like 'pea
   porridge' and not as appetizing.
   
   Meanwhile, make the croutons.  Cut the bread (leave crust on) into
 3/4
   cubes.  Melt the butter in a frying pan (Grandma Sofie used a heavy
 cast
   iron one), and when the foam is just through dying down but before the
   butter begins to brown, add the bread cubes in batches sized according
   to the size of your pan:  The croutons should never be more than one
 layer
   deep.
   
   Sometimes Grandma Sofie sauteed a little bit of garlic in the butter
   before adding the bread and sometimes not -- the croutons are good
 both
   ways.  I think that living all of her life in California sometimes
   overrode her German upbringing and that’s how the garlic snuck in!
   
   Fry the bread cubes over MEDIUM heat until dark golden, stirring and
   tossing frequently to brown on all sides. Take your time about this,
 as if
   you get the butter too hot it will burn and taste bitter.  If the
 croutons
   are done correctly, they will be crisp and fairly dry and light enough
 to
   float on top of the soup.
   
   Ladle the hot soup into bowls and pass the croutons in a basket for
 each
   person to add at the table.
   
   Note that you _could_ get by with a half a loaf of French bread for
 the
   croutons, but only if you're alone  while you're making the soup.
   Otherwise, the croutons have a tendency to 'dissappear' when you're
 not
   looking!
   
   From:  My husbands maternal grandmother Sofie Schmidt Murray,
 1892-1980.
   She was one of those cooks who never used recipes; I wrote this down
 one
   time while watching her make it. -- Linda Hurlbert Shogren
 (hurlbert@concentric.net)
  
 
 
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