RECIPE: Roberta’s Pea Soup Calls for Beer & Bacon

Thick and hearty and powerful enough to knock the winter doldrums unconscious.

roberta's pea soup

If I told you about a dish that called for both Benton’s bacon and a can of Miller High Life, you’d probably know I’d been eating at Roberta’s. And now, thanks to the Roberta’s Cookbook, you can cook that way yourself without taking the L to Bushwick.

Of course, to make this pea soup, you can use any bacon or lager, but the cookbook writers explain: “Benton’s bacon, cured and smoked by Allan Benton and company in the hills of Tennessee, is the most deeply flavorful, deeply smoky bacon we’ve ever had and probably ever will have. It’s the muscle in this soup, which is thick and hearty and powerful enough to knock the winter doldrums unconscious.” Here’s to that.

Split Pea Soup with Beer & Bacon

Adapted from the Roberta’s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini and Katherine Wheelock. (Clarkson Potter, Oct 2013)

Serves 6

340 grams (1⅔ cups) green split peas
6 slices (about 240 grams/ 8 ounces) Benton’s bacon, diced
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (12-ounce) can Miller High Life or any lager
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the split peas in a strainer and rinse them very thoroughly with cold water. Set a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Sweat the bacon slowly until it begins to soften, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the carrot and onion to the pot and cook until they soften and the onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the split peas and water to cover (about 2½ cups). Add the beer to the pot along with a couple of pinches of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook on a very gentle simmer for 2 hours, stirring regularly and adding water as needed to keep the peas covered. The consistency should be like a thick puree. If it’s not, continue cooking and stirring. It’s not possible to overcook this soup. When it’s done, check the seasoning and serve.

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Gabrielle Langholtz is the former editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.