Split pea soup is one of the most wonderful, economical soups out there. A bag of dried peas, some undesirable pork products (well, mostly) and some root veggies make this dish both hearty and frugal. Oh, and let's not forget delicious. I admit that I was originally disgruntled by the addition of ham hocks, aka pork knuckles. But, when I found a pound of them at my local Harris Teeter for less than five dollars, my suspicions were allayed.
The end result of this soup is surprisingly creamy, smooth and flavorful, given the sparse ingredients. I recommend that you add it to your soup regimen as the winter continues to churn along. Punxatawney Phil isn't budging an inch, that jerk.
Split Pea and Ham Soup
1 bag split peas
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups mirepoix (finely diced onions, carrots and celery, of equal proportions)
1 russet potato, cubed
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
2 large ham hocks
Melt butter and oil in large, heavy bottomed pot. Add mirepoix and cook til translucent. Add thyme and bay leave, then chicken stock, split peas, ham hock and potato. Let simmer, covered, on low for as long as you like, at least 30 min, and until it becomes creamy. As crazy as it sounds, without dairy, it takes on a very creamy consistency. Wait for it...
Anyway, at least 30 minutes is recommended for maximum flavors. It will be even better tomorrow. Also, I discarded the hocks after stewing. They just didn't appeal.
Well, that was easy. Enjoy some Split Pea and Ham Soup often during this dark, cold winter.