I should clean out the freezer more often. What does one do with just 3 slices of bacon? Make soup! My pantry is always stocked with split peas and lentils so this soup is easy for me to prepare on a moment's notice. Ham hocks are not in my culinary vocabulary, so bacon is my smoked meat of choice.
1 lb. pkg of green split peas
3 slices thick cut bacon
1 medium yellow onion
1C finely diced celery
1C very finely diced carrots
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2t dried thyme leaves (or 1t fresh)
1t smoked paprika
water to cover peas by 2 inches
Wash the dried split peas in a sieve and set aside. Very finely dice the bacon and saute in an 8 quart soup pot. Dice the onion, dice the celery and almost mince the carrots (I use shredded carrots to simplify this process), then saute them over a medium flame in the bacon fat. Add some extra virgin olive oil if there isn't enough fat from the bacon to saute the vegetables until they soften. Thinly slice the garlic and saute with the vegetables for a minute or two. Add the washed split peas into the pot and cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover the pot. Stir every 10-15 minutes until the peas have cooked down and the soup has thickened. I like serving this with garlic bread, but a crusty rustic loaf of bread works too.