Sunday, October 3, 2021

Cooking is Fun ... and Easy! Split Pea Soup

 

Sunday afternoons are my favorite day to cook, and soups and stews are some of my favorite things to cook.  I've been making this particular soup as long as I've been cooking.   It's great with a nice crusty French baguette or with croutons on top.  I used a whole ham hock, but actually I find the sliced ones easier--but alas, the store was out.  If you can chop stuff and saute' stuff, you got this.

Ingredients

1 lb. bag of split peas, picked over and rinsed
1 onion, diced (I had 1/2 a huge onion and 1/2 a shallot, so I used that)
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 heaping tbsp jarred minced garlic or scant tbsp of fresh
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp each of dried thyme and rosemary
2 bay leaves
7 cups chicken broth
4 slices bacon, diced large
1 whole ham hock, scored, some skin removed, or 2 or 3 large slices of ham hock

Directions

Saute' bacon on medium high in a soup pot or dutch oven until crispy.  Remove to drain.  Over medium high heat, saute' carrot, onion, celery until soft, about 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper.  Add minced garlic, herbs, and bay leaves, saute' a minute or so more.  

Add split peas, saute' another minute, then push veggie mixture out to edges of pot and place ham hock in the pot.   

Add 7 cups of chicken broth, bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for an hour, uncovered.  Stir occasionally.  Remove hock to a dish and let cool for about 20 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.  At this point, decide on your texture.  I like to use an immersion blender on low for a couple of seconds, but it's not really necessary.  Longer = smoother soup.  Immersion blenders are my favorite invention EVER. 

Pick meat off hock (I keep a box of food-grade gloves around for this), rough chop and add back to pot.  (Easy and quick method--throw out your hock and add as much rough chopped smoked ham as your heart desires.  I hate wasting stuff, so I picked this hock over.)  Bring back up to simmer and cook another 30 minutes or so.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Makes 4-6 generous bowls.  I like it with a little Tabasco sauce splashed on after serving.  

Hot tip:  Like most soups and stews, this is much better the day after (even two) you cook it.  We are having this for our weekly Tuesday dinner with Mom.  This will thicken to a paste consistency in the fridge...thin it it with a little chicken stock or water when reheating. Bon appetit!

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