Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pea & Bacon Soup (with bacon bits and garlic croutons)

We are beset by rains once again.  It's typhoon season and another big one has just hit us.  Actually, more than big, she was strong...and ravenous.  She flew in Wednesday morning and left havoc and debris in her insolent wake.  I feel lucky that we have a roof over our heads, a safe place to hunker down during these times.  We watched the wind whip the trees and the rain come down in slanted sheets while we were in our pajamas, dry behind our windows.  Little C’s eyes were round saucers as typhoons are very much new to her 4-year-old consciousness. 

It wasn't just the trees that bore the brunt though.  The storm brought our electricity down as well.  Some of my friends have yet to get their power back.  Some even lost water.  And those of us whose lights are back still experience scheduled rotational power outages.  This is not even to mention those that have had homes and property damaged.  Once again we find ourselves with the task of rebuilding, picking up after yet another storm.

I am grateful our area remained relatively unscathed save for some battered trees and broken branches, and that we haven’t lost power for too long.  We don’t have a hoard of emergency supplies, but we do have our flashlights, extra batteries, water, and a few go-to pantry staples.  Some of which go into this dish.  Here’s a little something for a “rainy day”.

Pea & Bacon Soup (with bacon bits and garlic croutons)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped + 1 clove finely minced
  • 150 grams + 100 grams slab bacon, chopped
  • 500 grams frozen peas
  • 3-4 cups water (750 ml – 1 liter)
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 slices day old bread, chopped

- Heat a pot over medium high heat.  Add the oil and when this is hot add the onions and the 4 cloves chopped garlic.  Sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, taking care not to brown the garlic.
-  Add the 150 grams bacon and let this fry, stirring occasionally, until some of the bacon fat has rendered, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the peas and toss, just until it loses its frozen appearance.  Add 3 cups water (to start) and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.  Take this off the heat and let it cool a bit.
-  When the soup has had a chance to cool slightly transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to process until smooth.  Place the soup back on the heat and season with the salt and pepper to taste.  If it is too thick for your liking then add more water.
- While your soup is cooking, or while it is cooling, you can make your bacon bits and croutons: Heat a skillet over high heat.  When hot, add the 100 grams chopped bacon and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is starting to brown and crisp at some edges.  Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the rendered fat behind still on the heat.  Into the hot fat add your bread and the 1 clove minced garlic.  Fry, tossing, until the bread is crisp and golden.  Remove from pan and set aside.
- Serve the soup with the bacon bits and croutons to go over each serving.

I call this rainy day food for two reasons: firstly because who doesn’t like hot soup when it is gloomy and wet outside?  And secondly because it is made with ingredients I usually always have stashed away…which is really all you have left to use when a howling tropical cyclone is keeping you from going anywhere.  Frozen peas and bacon are fixtures in my freezer.  Bacon is a savior in so many situations…especially when you need to perk up a blah dish.  Frozen peas ensures that you always have a vegetable at the ready, even if you haven’t had time to buy fresh from the market.  I need to mention though that there is a third reason: I absolutely love both!

On the same note as these “freezer staples”, I guess I should mention here the bread for the croutons.  I never throw bread out…even the straggling last slices, or hardened ends.  I toss everything into a bag and keep them in the freezer (actually I freeze all my bread…they stay fresher that way).  If you have old bread in the freezer you will always have a way to make croutons and breadcrumbs.  Fight food waste!

This soup is good on its own but is really extra special with the bacon bits and croutons so try to have them together.  If it’s a stormy day then you won’t have much else to do.  This is also excellent with some truffle oil drizzled on top, if you happen to have some around.

I hope you are ok wherever you are…that your power is up, the pieces picked up, the house dry, and that you have something warm and sustaining on your table.  Wishing you all a restful weekend!

P.S.  Due to all that’s been happening, and power being down for so many, I’ll be extending the deadline for entries for my Singapore Cooking cookbook giveaway to next week.  You still have a chance to win!  Just leave a comment on this post…that’s it!


Real Girl said...

That looks sooo good. At home or even in restaurants, we used to drizzle our (split) pea soup with sherry. :)

Midge said...

Glad to hear you and your family weathered the storm well, Joey. Oh, and that soup looks so comforting. :D

(Incidentally, the power only came back on in my neighbourhood at 11 AM yesterday. /facepalm)

Mary Ann said...

That recipe looks so yummy. Will need to try this... hope everything back in Phils is ok.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Jo! I imagine that would be good...I never had split pea soup growing up!

Hi Midge! Oh gosh! :( Some of my coworkers also lost power for days! One even lost water :-/ Thankfully, things have (more or less) stabilized...

Hi Mary Ann! Thanks! Things have improved but fingers crossed no more bad typhoons!!