Hearty Split Pea Soup
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅔ cup white wine (optional - I like it for deglazing the pan. You can use vegetable or chicken stock if you don't want to use alcohol)
  • 1 large ham hock or bone with lots of meat on it
  • 2-3 liters chicken or vegetable stock (you will need enough to just cover the ham)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 16 oz. bag green or yellow split peas, rinsed
  • ½ cup crème fraîche or sour cream (I prefer the more mild crème fraîche)
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the diced bacon and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the shallots and cook for another 8 minutes or so, until the shallots are beginning to caramelize and the bacon is crispy. Add in the garlic and saute for 1 minute, just until fragrant. Add in the ⅔ cup of white wine to deglaze the pan, and scrape up any browned bits from the bacon or shallots.
  2. Add in the ham bone and brown for a few minutes on all sides. Add in the stock until the bone is covered (I used about 2½ liters) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that the mixture is simmering, then cover, add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and red wine vinegar, and cook for 1 hour or so, stirring every so often and turning the bone so that it cooks evenly on all sides. After 1 hour, rinse your split peas and add them to the pot. Stir, and simmer for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, adding a bit of water if needed if the liquid reduces too much (I added around 1½ cups - use stock if you have it, but I didn't and it kept the salt intake down, anyway). Stir the soup frequently so that the peas don't burn to the bottom of the pan.
  3. When the meat is falling off the bone of the ham and the peas are soft, remove the bone from the soup and set aside. Strain the soup through a colander, mashing the peas through the holes as you go to smooth the soup out and removing large chunks of ham onto where you have set the ham bone so that you can dice them into bite-sized pieces. Pour the soup back into the pot and keep over low heat. Cut the chunks of ham into smaller, bite-sized pieces and pull off any extra pieces of ham from the bone, cutting them into bite-sized pieces as well and adding them to the soup. Taste, and season as you see fit with more salt, pepper, or nutmeg. Stir to combine, and serve. Top with a dollop of crème fraîche, if desired. Serves 6-8 people. You can make this 1 day in advance, or make it and freeze it for up to 4 months to eat at a later date.
Recipe by The Crepes of Wrath at http://www.thecrepesofwrath.com/2010/12/27/hearty-split-pea-soup/