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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ham and Split Pea Soup

























I love fall!  I didn't used to (since that is when school started), but now it is my favorite time of year.  The changes in the leaves, the lower temperatures without extreme cold yet, and the ability to make soup, almost daily!!!  I could eat soup every day, really.  However, my husband not so much, so I have to get creative, and try out new soups.  Since I love experimenting with food, I am totally okay with that!  

A while back, he had mentioned I should try to make split pea and ham (which I had no idea he liked), but it was never the right time.  Either we were having people over, or I was out of town, or it had been a long day...the excuses went on and on.  Well, yesterday, I decided that it was the day!  I was finally home, wasn't swamped with work to do, and would have time to enjoy the process of cooking...which I love, by the way.  I love the chopping and the blending and the prepping and the zone I get into when I do it all.  It is totally my stress releaver, and I love it.  Okay, now I am rambling...

I originally wanted to try Julia Child's Ham and Split Pea Soup.  Well, this required 4 hours to make the ham stock, so I walked over to Jewel to pick one up in the late morning...an hour before I had a conference call...about a mile away from my house...I had seen ham hocks at Jewel, almost every time I went, but since I wasn't making this soup, I figured why buy it, right?  Well...today, they were out of ham hocks!  I mean, seriously? Was EVERYONE thinking of making Ham and Split Pea soup?  Is there another use for ham hocks?  Ooooh, is there?  There must be...I see research in my future :-)   

So, I stopped at Olivia's on my way home, one of my favorite little grocery stores to go into.  I always find something new and interesting to try. But...nope, none there either...so I am running back home (and for those of you that know me, I HATE RUNNING), made it to my conference call with 2 minutes to spare, but without any ham hocks...

So off to find another recipe that would be just as good, but without having to spend 4 hours cooking the ham hock for ham broth.  I was not optimistic, I felt defeated, and I hadn't even started cooking yet!!!  Well, I found one; Emeril to the rescue!  I was still not as optimistic...I mean, this one called to cook the ham hock for only 1 hour...would there really be as much flavor?  

I don't know why I ever doubted Emeril...he is a genius!  In much less time, we had a wonderful, hearty, filling soup...we even both went back for seconds!  This never happens!  Anyways, now that you have read my diatribe, it is time for you to experience this yummy soup for yourselves...enjoy!

If required, place: 

1 lb. dried split peas

in a large pot or bowl, cover with water by 2 inches and soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain the peas and set aside. I used peas that did not require this step.

Score:

1 ham hock 

Place in a pot, cover with:

4 c. water

bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour. Set to low until ready to transfer to soup pot.

In a large pot, melt:

3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. olive oil

over medium heat. Add:

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots

cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add:

1 cup chopped yellow onions

cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add:

2 teaspoons minced garlic

cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Raise the heat to medium-high.  Add:

1 lb. ham, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces

cook, stirring, until beginning to brown. Add:

1 lb. dried split peas
crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Transfer the ham hock and water it cooked in to the pot.  Add:

4 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. fresh thyme

cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 1 hour. (Add more water as needed, if the soup becomes too thick or dry.) Remove the bay leaf and discard. Adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve immediately. Garnish with croutons, Parmesan cheese, or crumbled bacon.

Ingredients
1 lb. dried split peas
1 ham hock
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 lb. ham, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. fresh thyme
crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

Based on Emeri's recipe on: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/ham-and-split-pea-soup-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

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