Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Split Pea Soup...

Whenever anyone says anything about Pea Soup I instantly think of the movie Rescuers Down Under...there is a scene where Bianca and Bernard are eating dinner at a fancy restaurant and they eat pea soup...it is in this clip around the 7:30 minute mark http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6ZdBRMhUNY

I know many people are turned off by the ugly color of pea soup, but really people, get over it. It is so yummy. I like to be crazy and nontraditional and put potatoes in my pea soup, but my Mom prefers it without them so I generally leave them out.

Some fun facts about Pea Soup:

1) Scandinavians usually eat pea soup with mustard and dry toast...no thank you, not this Scandinavian.

2) Swedes actually have a whole day every week dedicated to Pea Soup! It is called "Pea Soup Thursdays." Restaurants participate in this tradition as well as the Swedish Armed Forces.

3) If you see it called "Pea Soup" it is usually a thinner pureed soup, whereas "Split Pea Soup" is a chunkier version with ham and vegetables.

4) Another nice thing about pea soup is that you can make a big pot of it and feed lots of people for wicked cheap! It cost me $12 to make this pot of soup which can feed 6-8 people.

Split Pea Soup

Lightly coat the bottom of a large stock pot with olive oil (about 1 TBS) and heat to medium high. Place 4 ham hocks in oiled pan and brown on each side about 2 minutes.

Rinse 1 pound of split green peas and drain. Add to pot with ham hocks and cover with 48 oz of chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water and 6 cups of water. Boil over high heat 20 minutes. Reduce heat and add the following:

6 carrots diced (you can peel them if you want, I don't)
3 small or 2 large onions diced

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Reduce heat to medium low and cook 30-45 minutes until vegetables are tender, stir every few minutes to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. You want liquid to be covering the ham hocks and vegetables, so if the liquid looks low just add some more water. Optional - Add 1/2 pound or 1 pound of diced ham steak to pot, or even some cooked bacon. Serve with nice crusty bread.

Some notes about the ingredients:

1) I used raw ham hocks, not the smoked ones. It was about $5 for 4 large ham hocks. You can usually find these near the pork in your meat department at the grocery store, if you don't see them ask the butcher, sometimes they don't put them out.

2) You can use all water instead of broth if you like to make the meal even less expensive : )

3) I usually make this around the holidays because we are gifted lots of hams and usually have leftovers to use up. You can use any ham you like. If we don't have leftover ham I use Hormel's natural choice no preservatives ham. It was about $5/pound.

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