6 strips lean bacon, cut into chunks
4 Tbsp. bacon drippings
1 lb. smoked ham, cut into small dice
1 lb. split green peas, dried
2 cups onions, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 large carrots, small cubed
2 quarts homemade chicken stock
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
3 smoked ham hocks
2 tsp. Frank Davis Sprinkling Spice (as desired)
1/2 stick of butter, cut into pats
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

First take a heavy anodized aluminum skillet and render down the bacon pieces over medium-low heat until they turn crisp. Then drain them on several thicknesses of paper towels and set them aside for a while.

Meanwhile, reheat the bacon drippings in the skillet to high, drop in the cubed ham, and stir-fry the cubes until they brown slightly. Now toss into the pan the peas, onions, celery, and carrots and saute-agitating constantly-until the vegetables begin to wilt (remember that by quick-frying the peas you will soften them more easily and make for a much smoother soup).

While the mix is sauteing, pour the chicken stock into a 5-quart Dutch oven and bring it to a boil.

Then, when the vegetables are tender crisp (cooked but still a little crunchy), stir them into the chicken stock. Now bring the mixture to a full boil and, constantly stirring, add the Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, ham hocks, and the crumbled bacon you cooked earlier. This is also when you season the soup to taste with the sprinkling spice, but I suggest you go lightly since you have a variable amount of salt already in the ham and bacon.

At this point, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot tightly, and simmer the soup for about two hours, stirring occasionally so that the peas don't stick and burn on the bottom of the pot. But after one hour of cooking time, take a slotted spoon, remove the ham hocks, cut the meat off the bones, and return the meat to the soup. Then cover the pot again and continue simmering it (at least for another 20 minutes or so).

When you're ready to eat, ladle the piping hot soup into deep bowls, stir in a pat or two of butter, sprinkle on a pinch of parsley for garnish, and serve with crispy saltines, breadsticks, or hot buttered French bread.

Then go catch a parade!


Chef's Notes:

For thick, creamy split pea soup, simmer it 15 minutes longer with the pot cover removed. To thin the soup should it become too thick, add a little extra chicken stock or whole milk.