California Central Coast Recipes
Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks
Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks is a "basic" that most cooks have in their arsenal for cold wintry days. The convenience of having the dried split peas in your pantry, along with your basic trito of onion, carrot and celery make this a snap to throw together, though it does require a few hours of simmering to make it really mellow.
What makes this recipe so outstanding was the finding of some really meaty Smoked Ham Hocks at our local Farmers Market. I made the soup just my normal way but really cooked down the trito of onions, celery, and carrots.- Almost caramelizing the trito to help along the breakdown-cooking process.
Another thing to remember. Though the package of dried peas said no need to soak, I did anyway for an hour or two in hot water the morning of the day I made the soup. This helps breakdown the dried peas, so they're more receptive to absorbing the flavors of the vegetables and spices. And don't forget, the longer you cook, or cook the day before and let the flavors intensify, then serve the next day, the soup gets even better.
Preparation time: 30 minutesCooking time: 3 hours
1 Pound Dried Split Peas , that have been soaked in hot water 1-2 hours then drained. Save water for pot.
1 Pound Smoked Ham Hocks
1 49 Ounce Can Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
4 Cups Water , (including soaking water)
2 Tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive oil
1-1/2 Cups Onions , Chopped
1 Cup Celery , Chopped
1 Cup Carrots Peeled and chopped
2 Cloves garlic , chopped
2 Bay leaves
1/2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoons Salt
Several grinds Black Pepper
1 Drain the soaking peas, saving the water for the broth.
2 In a large stockpot with lid, heat olive oil on medium-low heat.
3 Add in onions, and saute until lightly softened. Add in celery and carrot and continue to cook.
4 When celery and carrots begin to break down, add in garlic and continue to simmer.
5 When the onion mixture begins to caramelize, add the chicken broth and the saved water. Stir well.
6 Add the peas, stir well. Add in the Smoked Ham Hocks, stir.
7 Add the Bay leaves and Thyme. Stir well. Add in the salt and pepper. Stir well.
8 Bring the heat up to high and bring the soup to a slow boil.
9 When soup is up to heat, adjust heat down to low and simmer for 3 hours or so partially covered, stirring occasionally.
10 After 3 hours, the ham hocks should be starting to fall off their bone. This is what you want!
11 Taste the soup and correct seasonings to personal taste. If thicker soup is desired, puree' two cups soup in food processor or blender and then return to soup pot. Stir well. This should help thicken and give a nice texture to the soup.
12 Ladle soup into soup bowls and serve with croutons, crackers.or bread and a nice salad and you're all set!