Okay, campers, first assemble your ingredients:
1 bag dried split peas (I prefer Goya)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste (fresh or at least coarse ground black pepper)
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 large carrot, chopped
6-8 cups of chicken broth
2 glasses of white wine
1/2 cup chopped ham
1/4 lb bacon
1/2 lb andouille sausage
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional, YMMV)
Fry the bacon in the bottom of a stock pot. When it's starting to get crispy, add onion. Saute for a couple of minutes until it starts to get limp, then add the garlic. As the garlic starts to fry, add some salt and pepper, and then the chile powder and the cumin.
Fry all of that until it starts to take some color and the onion gets translucent. Add the carrots, and fry for another minute or two. Add 1 glass of white wine. Let it come to a boil and really start to flavor everything--the smell, at this point, is amazing.
Dump in all the chicken broth and the split peas (pick and rinse them first--I've had dirt and small stones in mine before, but that was with cheaper brands--Goya is usually pretty good). Bring it to a boil, then put your feet up and drink the second glass of wine while you let it simmer for 3-4 hours. Let the peas get good and mushy.
Okay, now you need tools--either a standing blender, a food processor, or an immersion blender (sometimes referred to as a "boat motor"). If you're using a food processor or a plastic blender, you're going to need to let the soup cool at this point. Don't worry, it will be totally worth the wait.
Blend the soup until you can barely tell that you ever put carrots and bacon in it. It should be really thick and dense at this point (pea soup, right?). Bring it back up to a light simmer.
Now dice the andouille sausage and pan-fry it with the ham (use tasso if you can get it and if you favor that kind of kick). Get the sausage good and crispy, then drain all of it, and throw it into the soup. Stir it all in, season to taste (salt, pepper, cayenne) and serve.
I like to serve it with hot biscuits and more ham, but it's a great soup on it's own. While it's a perfect food for a cold winter day, I will admit that I just made a batch this afternoon, and it's an 80-degree June day. This soup also freezes really well--you can cool it, put it in quart-sized freezer bags (or whatever sizes works for you for a serving) and pull it out and thaw it anytime you don't feel like cooking.
(I really need an end-of-recipe catchphrase...)