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Old Fashioned Split pea Soup

1 pkg. (1 lb.) dried, split green peas
6 1/2 c. water
1 pkg. smoked pork chops (3-4 chops)
2 cans (13 3/4 or 14 1/2 oz. size) chicken broth
1 med. onion, chopped
6 lg. carrots, pared and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 parsley sprigs, chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/8 tsp. ground pepper

In 5 quart Dutch oven or kettle over high heat, bring all ingredients to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, 1 1/2 hours adding more water if too thick. Discard bay leaf and remove pork chops from soup; cool. Cut off any meat and skin from bones. Chop meat and skin if desired. Return to soup. Discard the bones. Over low heat, reheat soup, covered, 15 minutes or until hot. Makes about 2 1/2 quarts (10 - 1 cup servings).

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