Monday, December 12, 2011

Split Peas & Smoked Ham Hocks Soup

Cold winter day. Wind is howling outside. Frost is covering every inch of anything exposed.. what better time to whip up a pot of something warm, thick, and delicious? If you are in the Pac Northwest, I recommend getting your ham-hocks from WinCo. They seem to have the best prices AND the best quality for their hocks. Lots of meat, little price, good deal.

You can cut this recipe in half, if you have a smaller family, or don’t like to deal with left overs. I make a LOT, and we take it for lunches.

2 bags dried split peas
6 cups chicken broth
6 cups water
1 onion, diced
3-4 celery stalks, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 medium carrots, sliced
4 decent sized smoked ham hocks

In a large stock pot, heat 2-3 tablespoons oil. Add the onion, celery, garlic and carrots. Cook until tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the water and stock, bring to a boil.

While this is coming to a boil, make sure you rinse and sort your peas. Make sure there is not sand or other chunky ‘things’ in them. They being a natural product, sometimes ‘foreign materials’ can sneak into the bags. Just give them a quick rinse, poke through them a few times, and you should be good.

After the stock/veggies come to a boil, add the peas, and lower the heat to medium. Add the ham hocks, and let cook until desired consistency. Some people like it thin, like soup. I prefer mine thick, like a chowder. Watch your fluid levels. If it gets too dry, add more stock or water. Too wet, let it cook longer. I typically allow mine to cook slow for a few hours.

This goes great with home made Parker House rolls, or garlic bread.

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