Saturday, November 14, 2009

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Bits

For this week's soup, I made a delicious (albeit not pretty) split pea with smoked ham bits. I am willing to look past its looks because it tastes so good!!

It starts out with beautiful bright green dry split peas. And gets its smokiness from ham hocks, but you could use smoked chicken wings or smoked ham.

Then it's my usual way to create a soup, with the exception of adding cloves to the onion. I read that James Beard did that to the onion in his split pea soup, so I thought I try it, too.

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Bits
1 onion
5 cloves
2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
2 large garlic cloves
bay leaf
4 cans of chicken broth
3 smoked ham hocks (not necks!) (Look in the freezer section if you can't find fresh)
1 lb. bag of green split peas

Sort peas and rinse in cold water. Drain.

In a large stockpot, brown smoked ham hocks. Scrape carrots and cut into large chunks. Stud onion with cloves. Smash two large garlic cloves. Clean and cut celery ribs into large chunks.

Add drained split peas.

Cover with chicken broth, add bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours until meat is tender.

Remove ham hocks. And let cool. Remove bay leaf.

Remove cloves from onion. Smash with potato masher. I find a potato masher works well (vs. blender) when you want a thicker, chunkier soup, but still want to disburse the flavors.

Cut up bits of ham and return to pot. Note how little ham came off the hocks. So, if you want lots of ham in your soup, buy smoked ham and cut it up in cubes, instead.

Serve and enjoy. We had it for lunch, but it is hearty enough for dinner, too.

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