Fatback Pea Soup
-1 lb. bag dried split peas, rinsed and drained
-4 oz. sliced fatback
-2 tbsp vegetable oil
-1/4 med onion in single chunk
-2 medium carrots, peeled, each chopped into 3 pieces
-1 stalk celery with leaves if attached, chopped into 3 pieces
-fresh parsley knot
In a soup pot fry the fatback pieces in the oil at med. heat, stirring and flipping to render them crisp and puffy without scorching. Remove to a saucer and reserve.
Add the vegetables and parsley to the pot with 3 cups of lightly salted water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 min. Turn-off burner and with a slotted spoon remove carrots and reserve. Remove remaining vegetables and strain their absorbed liquid into the pot by pressing them against the strainer screen with the back of the spoon. Discard.
Add peas and 3 more cups of water, return to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 45 min, dragging a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pot occasionally to release any softened peas and prevent them from sticking and burning, stirring any back into suspension. Check peas for tenderness, continue to simmer if necessary until all peas are tender, but not all yet broken-down. Remove from the burner and let cool.
Ladle out 2/3 of the soup, avoid, to the extent possible, removing fatback pieces and purée in a blender or processor with the reserved carrots. Stir purée back into pot with soup and intact peas. Add water if necessary to get that just-right pea soup velvety mouthfeel with some loose peas in the mix.