a pound of split peas, rinsed, and soaked overnight
a package of bacon (we like nitrite free bacon, you may also use smoky meat of any sort, including ham, smoked turkey, or go vegetarian and just add chipotle pepper for the smokiness and some seitan for the meat-effect)
a package of Cajun mirepoix (or onion, celery and bell pepper, chopped)
two large carrots, sliced into moons and half-moons.
1 quart of chicken stock
3 tbs natural unsweetened peanut butter (yes, peanut butter, it is a secret ingredient)
In a cast iron dutch oven or your favorite soup pot:
Cook the bacon (it's easier if you cut it up first) and when it is cooked through (no need for crispiness, just cooked) add the vegetables. Cook a bit more, and add the (freshly rinsed) peas, chicken stock and peanut butter. Then add about 2 cups of water or less, enough to cover the peas for sure but leave a 1/2 at least of the top of the kettle empty for boiling room.
Cook over slow simmering heat for at least 2 1/2 hours. (you can also do this bit in the crock pot)
As you cook it down, keep adding water. You can cover or not, but I generally don't cover it unless it is in the crock pot and needs the lid to keep the heat up.
Near the end of the cooking time, I sometimes add marjoram or thyme, and some freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with crusty bread. Even better the second day.
Makes lots of food.