Gourmet Style: 12-Chili Split-Pea & Lentil Soup w/ Bacon

You know sometimes my kids are extraordinarily lucky. Lunchtime around my house just might end up being something worth writing about.  When daddy offers up soup just about the only kitchen tool I don’t need is a can opener.  Those who know me know that as the season starts to turn to autumn(which is quickly in Canada) I start to turn to the comfort foods of my youth. The type of hearty sustenance which my grand-father would say ‘sticks to your ribs’ or ‘puts hair on your chest’. Just as my ancestors had learned from their ancestors who had learned from the Inuit of the far north the key to survival in harsh winters is ample stores.

Not that today was overly chilly, but it is the first time since the new school year started that it wasn’t 30 degrees, so I guess that counts as fall-esque enough for me to whip up a meal that is so packed with nutrients that for centuries both the British and French empires included pea-soup in their standard war rations. These are the farthest thing from empty-calories you can get, this isn’t just a bowl of soup, it is an experience. You will sweat while you eat it, and your digestive system will feel it for days afterward. On top of all that, of course I had to throw a gourmet contemporary-fusion flair into it so the layers of flavours should be enough to send most novice level gastronomiques into immediate foodgasms…

What you’ll need for this dish is a pantry well-stocked with dried ingredients. This soup was suitable for the battlefield because all you really need is a pot of boiling water and time to make it, the labour is all in the acquiring of the ingredients. I myself, meticulously hand-select and machine dry almost all of the components but I don’t expect that the average person would do anymore than take a trip to the grocery-store to get the dried versions of these things(fresh is not best in this case). Cooking is all about feel and taste, feel free to substitute at will:

-1 Cup split yellow peas

-1&1/2 Cups red lentils

-2 cubes chicken bouillon

-1/4 cup real bacon bits(not simulated)

-3 tbsp dehydrated white onion flakes

-1 tbsp dehydrated twelve chili flakes(um hard to get if you don’t know me)

-1/2 tsp  garlic, granualated and catalyzed

-1/4 tsp. ground Mexican oregano

-1/4 tsp dried rosemary sprigs

-salt, pepper and olive oil to taste

-1/4 cup of medium-dry sherry and 3 & 3/4 cup water

So you pretty much need to slow cook this for hours, while stirring almost constantly. Start it in the morning to be ready for lunch. It’s well worth it. The usual blank-slate of the peas and lentils gets painted-over in masterpiece fashion with the salt of the bacon and stock, with the heat and fruit of the chili, the earthiness of the oregano and the woodsy feel of the rosemary, add in the super-complex tones of the sherry and this is one soup you would feel worthy of serving to even the most distinguished of guests, or your toddler who can barely string together a thank you for the yummy soup…Plus it puts hair on your chest…

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