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About the Recipe: Pioneer stews like this one use only a few seasonings. Pork trimmings from the trappers were added for additional flavor. Bacon or chopped smoked ham adds a delightful grilled flavor to the split peas. If desired, add additional herbs and ingredients as suggested in the Recipe Additions.
Enhanced Original Recipe by: French Cooking in Early America by Patricia B. Mitchell, 2011.
Recipe additions according to: Feast of the Hunters; Moon Cook Book, Lafayette Indiana, 2015 Recipe Voyageur Pea Soup
Suggested additions: 2 stalks celery, chopped, 1 leek, chopped,
2 potatoes, diced, 2 Tablespoons butter, thyme, thick smoked ham slice chopped.
History of the Dish:
The Voyageurs paddled the big canoes that brought supplies, and they usually stayed in the post over the winter before transporting the furs back north. Their food was cooked in a tin kettle which held eight to ten gallons and hung over the fire. They might have this stew for breakfast. The peas were soaked to soften and pork strips were added for seasoning. They simmered until daylight. The cook added broken biscuits to the stew and this mixture was so thick that a stick could stand upright in it.
Soups, stews, hash, and perhaps bread were the main foods for the early explorers and immigrants. One pot meals were common, served by a cook, who fed trappers and hungry families. As the wilderness was tamed, French styled foods added herbs and more complex flavors.