Heat reserved bacon drippings in a large soup pot; sauté onion and celery over medium heat until tender. Add remaining ingredients except half-and-half; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 45 minutes, until peas are very tender. Discard bay leaf. Fill a blender 3/4 full with soup; blend to purée. Return to soup pot; stir in half-and-half. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes, until heated through. Serve with reserved bacon on top.
Quote: Beautiful soup, so rich and green, Waiting in a hot tureen!
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