2lbs organic, dry split peas, soaked for 7 hours or overnight in water with 2 tsps baking soda*; rinsed and drained.
1lb smoked bacon ends/chunks or smoked ham hock
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
Several sprigs fresh thyme or 2 tsp dry
4-6 cups pork broth
Salt and pepper to taste
In a Dutch oven or soup pot, brown bacon ends or ham hocks. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add split peas to the pot and cover with pork broth about a half inch(or less) above the peas. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered for 1 hour or until peas are quite soft. After the peas have cooked for 30 minutes add the carrots and season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick after an hour, add more broth and adjust seasonings. If you would like a creamier texture, mash with a potato masher. Remove ham hocks or bacon ends if desired or alternatively you can remove the bones (if ham hock was used) and chop up the meat to add back to the soup.
Note: I heard Jessica Prentice, author of Full Moon Feast state that legumes should be soaked with baking soda since is creates an alkaline solution which helps breakdown the gas-causing sugars of beans/peas and also shortens the cooking time. I have also soaked beans according to Nourishing Traditions, with whey or lemon juice but prefer the results I get with the baking soda. If you do use whey, yogurt, lemon juice or other acidic medium to your soaking water instead of baking soda you may have to cook the peas longer than 1 hour.