Share and Enjoy
The kid’s are back in school and just like clockwork the weather cooled down as well. It had been such a mild summer, I wasn’t sure we’d see a change in the weather for awhile. But change it did; cool breezes and and earlier sunsets seem to have appeared overnight. My son wasn’t too happy to see it all end but as for me, I get my house back and can finally get a lot more work done.
With the change in the weather, I start thinking about comfort food. Stews, roasts and soups are all the things I look forward to for Fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love grilling and do it all year long, but having a meal braising in a pot all day or a piece of beef slowly roasting in the oven fills the house with amazing aromas. And that’s what got me thinking about split pea soup. I hadn’t made it in quite a long time; probably not since February or March. But now that it had cooled, it was time for it once again. Creamy, hearty perfection. Enjoy!
I started by dicing a leek using only the white and pale green part up to where the leaves start and of course cutting off the bottom roots.
As you can see in the photo, leeks tend to have quite a bit of dirt in between all the layers. So I washed them in a colander to remove it.
In a large fry pan I heated 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. I added 1 medium diced onion, 1 diced carrot, 2 ribs of celery diced, 3 minced garlic cloves along with the diced leek and cooked until softened about 10 minutes. I added 1 bay leaf and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves and cooked another 2 minutes then set aside.
While the vegetables were cooking, I soaked the peas in several changes of warm water in a large pot to remove impurities and cut down on the inevitable foam that rises while cooking. Once rinsed, I added 3 cups chicken stock, 5 cups of water, 2 ham hocks (rinsed first to remove excess surface salt), the reserved vegetables and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh black pepper. I brought it to a boil then reduced the heat to low and simmered it for 1h 45mins with the lid on askew to allow venting. I stirred it about every 30 minutes.
This is what it looked like after the initial cooking. I removed the ham hocks and discarded the skin and cut off the meat from them and fished out the bay leaf.
Using my stick blender, I pureed the soup until creamy. I like alot of ham in mine so I added the diced meat from the ham hocks along with 1/2 pound of diced ham steak. I added 3 tablespoons of sweet sherry and simmered for another 20 minutes until it thickened to my liking, stirring regularly to prevent scorching the bottom.
A simple grilled cheese sandwich was the perfect match. Enjoy!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 leek diced and rinsed well
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 2 celery ribs diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 pound dried split peas
- 2 ham hocks rinsed
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 5 cups water
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons sweet sherry or vermouth
- ½ pound ham steak diced
- Heat the butter in a large fry pan over medium heat. Add the leek, onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until soft about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaf and thyme and cook another 2 minutes then set aside.
- While the vegetables are cooking, soak the peas in a large heavy bottomed pot with several changes of warm water to remove impurities and cut down on the foam that will rise while cooking. When rinsed and drained, add the the reserved vegetables, ham hocks,chicken stock, water and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer with the lid askew to vent for 1 hour 45 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes.
- Remove the ham hocks and cut any meat off and dice discarding the the bone and skin. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth. This can also be done in a blender in small batches with the lid ajar to vent.
- Add the meat from the ham hock, the sherry and the diced ham and return over low heat for 20 minutes stirring frequently to prevent the bottom from scorching.