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Split Pea Soup

1/2 bag dried split peas
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 to 1 tsp. tarragon
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
3 cans beef or chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bottle or can of beer (or a cup or so of red or white wine)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs. olive oil

In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onion,
garlic, carrots, celery. Saute until the onions are translucent.
Don't burn the garlic! Add the liquids, dried split peas, potato,
bay leaves, tarragon, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then
reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer until the peas have
basically turned to mush. Remove the bay leaves! Puree in small
batches in a food processor or blender and return to the pot.

If desired, garnish with sour cream and croutons. Or toss in slices
of sausage (like Hillshire farms brand). Another variation is to
stir in a bit of brandy just before serving.

Note: If you don't like tarragon, use dried thyme or marjoram


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