Split Pea Soup

Adapted from David Leibovitz, Living the Sweet Life in Paris


David Lebovitz adds thyme to this recipe, which I’m sure is good, especially with fresh thyme, but I don’t use it. He also uses a stick blender to puree it a little, but I just mash it around a little with a potato masher when it’s done as I like it chunky and rustic – your choice. I do use bay leaf – always Morton & Bassett brand.


2 slices of your favorite bacon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base (very umami)

1 bay leaf  (I use Morton & Bassett brand)

2 potatoes (russet or Yukon Gold), peeled and cubed

300 grams dried split peas (1-1/2 cups), washed and scoured for stones

7 to 8 cups of water (start with 7)

Black pepper

I find that the Vegetable Base makes it salty enough. If you don’t, add salt to taste as it’s cooking.

Sour cream for serving (I use Breakstone Full Fat)

Homemade garlic croutons are a nice touch as is toasted bread served with a sliver of blue cheese


Cook the bacon until crisp in a large soup pot. (I use a 5-quart stainless steel lined copper Bourgeat.  It’s my favorite pot.) Remove the bacon and set aside to crumble over the soup before serving. Add the olive oil to the pot. Heat it a little and add the onion and carrots. Cook until the onion is wilted then add the garlic, bay leaf, cubed potatoes, and the split peas. Sprinkle generously with black pepper and stir.


Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and put a cover askew on the pot. Stir occasionally. As it’s cooking, if you notice it’s thickening more than you like, add a little more water to get it the way you like it. 


The soup is ready when the peas and potatoes are soft. This generally takes about 45 minutes. Leave it as chunky or pureed to your liking. Serve with crumbled bacon bits and dollops of sour cream.  Leftovers need to be thinned with water.