Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Smooth and Soothing Spilt Pea Soup

It's more comfort food- it's filling, flavorful and full of fiber. Do I have an alliteration problem? Yes.
1 and 1/2 cups dried split peas
3 cups stock
3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ham hocks
2 large carrots, chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb or 1/2 a large one, chopped
4 garlic cloves, whole
teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 bay leaves
Tabasco sauce
a splash of cream

In a large heavy bottomed pot, saute the chopped vegetables in the olive oil for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the liquids, spices and ham hocks and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a brisk simmer (number 3 on my stove) and add the split peas. Cover and cook for at least one hour, up to two hours. Stir occasionally because split peas like to stick .

Remove the ham hocks and bay leaves from the pan. Use an immersion blender to blend it all into a smooth soup, or blend it in batches in your blender or food processor, CAREFULLY! If you don't have any of those gadgets, just make sure you chopped all of your vegetables very finely. Remove all of the meat you can  from the ham hocks, chop it up and add it to the now smooth velvety soup. Serve with a dash of Tabasco and a splash of cream on top, along with crunchy toasted bread or croutons.