RUSTIC SPLIT PEA AND HAM SOUP


Burrrr....it is freezing out, with the snowflakes to prove it!  They say we're getting even more snow tomorrow - and the only thing I can think of is hot homemade pea soup!
p.s. I just heard on the news that Atlanta and Georgia has snow too! What a shock that must be for them !!  Wow, and then poor Australia, Queensland bombarded with unbelievable flooding - my heart and prayers go out to them.  Our weather patterns around the world are certainly changing. It makes me realize just how powerless we are when mother nature takes over....I hope Australia gets relief soon.
So if you are cold and freezing, this is a soup for you - hunker down with a fire blazing, and share this soup with your loved ones.  It will warm your soul.  Even DH liked it and he does not like pea soup!  Wow, how did that happen??
I found a beautiful naturally smoked Ham Hock, the package said: Naturally smoked, no MSG, Gluten and Dairy Free!  This puts a smile on my face, and makes my heart sing.  Then I realized there was a jar of yellow split peas in the pantry, and 5 cups of homemade turkey stock in the fridge  - Oh Happy Days.
1 Naturally smoked Ham Hock
2 Bay leaves
1/2 a large onion, quartered
1 1/2  cups of yellow split peas (this was a perfect consistency for us, however, if you wanted a thicker broth add in 1/2 a cup more split peas)
5 cups homemade turkey stock (without salt) plus 2 cups water
1 onion, minced
2 large diced carrots
1 1/2 diced celery stalks
2 tsp. dry rubbed sage (or fresh if you have it)
3 inch sprig of fresh rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add the stock, water, to the pan, 1/2 a large onion, sprig of rosemary, bay leaves and the hamhock.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to minimum, lid on and simmer for 1 hour. (For the first 1/2 hour or so, gently skim off any foam bubbling to the top of the broth and discard.)
After 1 hour, add the split peas to the pot, continue to simmer until the meat is falling off the bone, remove ham hock transferring to a plate to cool.  Remove the bay leaves, rosemary stem from the broth.  Simmer until the split peas are tender - about 45 minutes longer.
Add in 1 minced onion, carrots, celery, sage, salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender.  At this point you can puree the vegetables or leave as is for a more rustic soup.  Shred the ham meat off the bone, discarding the outer skin and bone.  Return the shredded meat to the soup to heat through.  Served with a lovely gluten free French Bread - recipe pending - this was a warm and hearty meal worthy of any cold tundra!

Ina Gawne
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January 11, 2011
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