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Make Chef Matthew Tropeano's Split Pea Soup

More, peas!
More, peas!

Split pea soup -- a splendid mix of sweet, plump, vegetal bobbles with savory pork -- has been consumed since at least ancient Athens. The recipe remains beloved by many to this day, as it easily adapts to regional palates and the tastes of a particular era.

Chef Matthew Tropeano, of La Silhouette (362 West 53rd Street), shares his version of the age-old stew. He suggests pairing the pick with a classic ham-and-brie sandwich.

"This is a great wintry combination for a nice lunch or dinner. I love making soups like this -- and combining them with the salty, gooey ham and brie is a perfect meal."

Split Pea Soup by chef Matthew Tropeano of La Silhouette

Yields: 2½ gallons soup

Ingredients:

4 pounds split peas 2 gallons white duck stock 1 quart chopped onions 1 quart chopped leeks 6 cloves garlic, sliced 2 tablespoons duck fat 1 piece smoked pork skin and/or smoked ham bone 1 sachet (wrap herbs and spices in cheese cloth and tie)

½ cap toasted black peppercorns ¼ cap toasted cloves 1/8 cap toasted fennel seeds thyme bay leaf

Heavy cream Country bread Mayonnaise Dijon mustard Smoked Ham Brie

For the soup:

In a large soup pot, sweat onion, leek, and garlic in duck fat until tender. Add split peas and white duck stock, then add the pork skin and/or ham bone and bring to simmer. Skim. Add sachet and simmer until peas are tender.

Remove sachet, bone, and skin. Puree in blender. Chill.

Before serving soup, heat in a saucepan. Add a touch of heavy cream and buzz with hand blender. Serve with buttered croutons.

For the sandwich:

Smear Dijonnaise (mayo and Dijon mixed) on one side of each slice of country bread. Place the smoked ham and brie on the bread and close the sandwich. Toast in the oven until the brie is gooey.

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