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Sausage Split-pea Soup

1 lb Smoked sausage; sliced medium thin (turkey smoked sausage preferred)
1 Onion; large, chopped fine
1 Potato; large, scrubbed and diced (don't peel it)
1 lb Split peas
1 Bay leaf
1/2 ts Black pepper.
7 c Water


Combine everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for at least 8 hours. Stir thoroughly before serving. To thicken the soup a bit without adding calories, puree about 2 cups of the soup in a food processor and stir it back into the soup. Italian variation: Pre-cook 1 pound of sweet or hot Italian sausage by steaming 15 minutes in about 1/2 inch of water in a skillet or by cooking at 5-minute intervals in a microwave oven. When cool enough to handle, slice the sausage and proceed as above, adding 1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning. The Italian version has such a lively flavor, it even tastes good on a summer day.


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