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German Split Pea Soup

2 lbs. yellow or green split peas
2 sm. onions
3 stalks celery, grated
2 carrots, grated coarsely
2 leeks, chopped coarsely
1/4 c. margarine (1/2 stick)
3 qts. water
3 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar, if desired

Cover peas with water, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Let peas soak in same water for several hours (5 or 6). Drain thoroughly and set aside. Cook onions, carrots, leeks and celery, in melted butter or margarine for two minutes. Put in large pan with 3 quarts water, salt and sugar and peas, and onion mixture. Cook slowly about two hours. If soup looks too thick, stir in a little water or consomme. Chopped ham or cooked, crumbled bacon may be added.

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