What's that you say? Wicked Witches' Cauldron Stew? Hmmmmm. How about its real name: Split Pea Soup with Pumpernickel Croutons!
5 slices bacon
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
64 oz. low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup water
2 cups dried split peas
2 bay leaves
1 t. dried thyme
1 1/2 t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Saute bacon in a large pot over medium-high heat until crisp and brown. Remove and set aside. Add onion, carrot, and celery to the pan. Saute until vegetables begin to soften.
Add garlic; saute for 1 minute. Add stock, water, peas, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and peas fall apart, 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
Puree soup using an immersion blender or, in batches, with a regular blender. Taste and check for seasonings.
To serve, ladle into bowls and top with your favorite toppings.