Bacon & Split Pea Soup
50g/2oz dried split peas
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
175g/6oz long-grain rice
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1.2 litres/2pt vegetable stock
175g/6oz carrots, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons single cream
100g/4oz streaky bacon rashers
Salt and ground black pepper
Cover the split peas with plenty of cold water, cover loosely and leave to soak for at least 12 hours.
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and onion, and cook for 2–3 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the rice, drained soaked split peas and tomato purée, and cook for a further 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes until the rice and peas are tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Blend three-quarters of the soup in a blender or food processor to form a smooth purée. Pour into the remaining soup in the saucepan. Add the carrots and cook for a further 10–12 minutes until the carrots are tender.
Stir in the parsley and single cream. Keep warm.
Finely chop the bacon and put in a frying pan over a gentle heat. Saute until the bacon is crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle over the soup, and season well with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.