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Harvest Pea Soup with Fennel

8 c Water
1/2 c Dried split peas
4 c Chopped fennel bulb
1 c Celery chopped
2 tb Shallots, minced
2 tb Vegetable stock
1 tb Basil (Fresh) minced
4 md Potatoes, diced
2 c Peas
2 tb Parsley, minced
Fennel Sprigs (Garnish)

Place water, split peas, fennel and celery in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

While the soup simmers, saute and shallots in the stock in a small skillet until they are translucent. If using dried basil, stir into the shallots, then remove from heat. Stir the shallots into the soup as it simmers.

After it has simmered for 1 hour, puree the soup in batches in a blender. Return the blended soup to the pot.

Add the potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the peas and basil (if using fresh) and simmer until the peas are tender. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat. Garnish with fennel sprigs if desired.

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