Split pea soup wasn’t a thing I really understood as a kid… I mean what’s with the peas splitting up? Isn’t it just mashed green peas?… Despite the confusion, a bowl of piping hot green soup along side moms homemade bread was a staple in our house.
In the morning my mom would put a ham hock and some water in a pot to simmer and over time add some veggies and peas and let it sit and cook all day… I can’t tell you how many times my brother I were drawn away from the playroom just to figure out why the house smelled so good. On a grey weather day in NYC at my ripe age of 26 I decided to make mom’s split pea soup myself. So I had to call up the expert.
I was at the farmers market when mom picked up and reassured me that a ham hock is a common thing to ask for at the market, or any butcher shop for that matter. I didn’t see any signs so I felt a little silly asking one the farmers at the stall if they had a smoked ham hock (mom said it had to be smoked). Sure enough they lead me right to a cooler where they dug down deep for pretty big hunk of bone with some meat. Yum?
I have to say, that I felt pretty sly leaving the market that day with a massive smoked ham hock tucked in my bag…. I told my boyfriend Phil that I felt like a spy, as a city girl from the outside I looked like I may join my classy friends for brunch in Soho but really I was just an undercover split pea soup fanatic girl with a giant ham hock in her bag walking home. I loved it. After the ham hock had cooked all morning and I added the peas and veggies and my mom gave me the all clear to let it sit. I left for a yoga class and coffee with a friend and when I came back….GUYS we live on a 5 floor walk up and I could smell it from the street. This time my long climb to my apartment fell like a walk to the doors of heaven. I was pretty proud… in hindsight I should have left a few bowls for my neighbors for having to endure the magnificent aroma all day. Ingredients:
Medium smoked ham hock
6 cups water
1 bundle of leaks, diced
2 big carrots
4 smaller potatoes
a bay leaf
1 tsp died thyme
2 tsp sea salt
pepper to taste
2 table spoons of ghee butter or grass fed butter ( optional but recommended for yumminess)
1- 2/2 cups green split peas
I like to soak the peas in a bowl of water over night but you can also soak or 4-6 hours.
Rinse the peas in a colander after soaking.
Fill a dutch oven or 4 quart pot with 6 cups water and add the ham hock, bay leaf, thyme and cover.
Bring the pot to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium and let simmer for 45 to an hour.
Add the peas, carrots, leeks, and potatoes and cook for 30 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the ham hock and bay leaf from the pot. Shred the meat off the bone of the hammock and add everything back to the broth. Add two tablespoons of grass fed butter.
Stir everything in the pot, cover and cook on the low until you are ready to eat. Serve hot with a side of sour dough toast and butter. 🙂