Split Pea & Ham Soup (not your grandma’s soup)
Maybe it was my years cooking in Florida or just the amount of goopy, over reduced, wallpaper paste of split pea soups I’ve had most of my life, but whenever I saw it on a menu I just assumed stay far far away. Which brings me to my dilemma… when the awesome local farmers call and say they have a ton of dried split peas to unload I had to say yes and figure this whole soup out for myself. After a few attempts with different flavor profiles I settled on this version:
Split Pea with Smoked Ham Hock recipe
- 1 lb of dried split peas
- 8 Cups of Vegetable stock (Use water and vegetable base/bullion)
- 1 good sized smoked ham hock
- 1 Bay leaf
- 4 Strips of thick bacon diced
- 1 Cup of diced white onion
- ½ cup diced carrot
- ½ cup diced celery
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (you can used 2tsp dried if you don’t have any)
- In a heavy bottom soup pot bring the heat up to medium low heat and add your bacon, render (aka cook slow) until you get a good amount of fat at the bottom and the bacon is beginning to look cooked, turn heat up to medium.
- Add your onions, carrots, and celery; cook until the onions are translucent, add garlic and cook for another three minutes, pour in your vegetable stock and add your ham hock, bay leaf, and dried split peas
- Cook for one hour on medium low heat covered
- Remove the bay leaf (toss it) and ham hock (keep it), add the thyme; give the soup a small puree (either a few pulses with an immersion blender or just blend ¼ of the total amount of soup in the blender or whatever contraption you make smoothies in).
- Pull the bone out of the ham hock and shred the meat best you can add the shredded meat back to the soup and add salt and pepper to taste.
But Chef Joe!!! It’s not puke green!! That was the point, I wanted to this to be tasty, appealing, and a good warming winter soup. Split Peas are high in Magnesium and dietary fiber (two things the Standard American Diet is lacking in) and with it being chocked full of smoked delicious pork how can you go wrong. Feel free to garnish with more ham, bacon bits, green onions, sour cream, and jalapenos, whatever you like. So come on gives split peas a try again and make this for dinner, it’s time we brought these little green guys back into the main stream of cooking.