A thick warming soup that makes a meal on its own – or expand for a family meal with grilled Bratwurst or sausage, hearty bread (like Kim and Jakes Gluten Free Peasant Loaf), and bright-flavor greens like arugula.
Rinse the dried split peas in a colander. Place in a large pot and cover with filtered water, so that peas are ~ 2 inches below surface of water. Place lid on the pot and let soak overnight.
Once soaked, rinse peas through in a colander once again, and set aside.
In your large pot, melt the bacon fat and add minced celery, garlic, and scallions. Saute until nearly soft, but not burnt or browned.
Add finely chopped uncooked bacon and saute until bacon pieces are clear and starting to crisp slightly.
Add salt, paprika, and red pepper, and combine thoroughly with minced vegetables and bacon. Then stir in the drained peas and combine once again. Keep heat on low – medium, to allow slow cooking but not browning.
Add chicken broth, and turn heat to high. Bring to a near boil, then reduce to steady low simmer. Simmer for 3 hours, checking occasionally to stir ingredients and keep from sticking to bottom of pot.
Adjust seasoning as desired, and stir to a thick even consistency. Peas should be mostly disintegrated into a smooth soup. Serve warm with rustic GF bread or any accompaniments as desired.