Here’s a cool weather soup that hits the spot. I grew up with pork and beans, and split pea soup, so I created my own recipe using a combination of both flavors to make this soup. It’s thick, delicious and filling and will serve 4-6 bowls of soup, depending on the size of your soup bowl.
Even better it reheats wonderfully and like most soups or stews, the flavors will infuse overnight making the next day’s serving better than the first! I like this alone, with just some bread. There are a couple of variations that I’ve tried depending on my cravings that day.
When you find a basic combination that you like, enjoy experimenting with the dish by adding in different flavors that change the texture and enhance the flavors. This soup is one of those dishes,I’ve added butterbeans for another texture and flavor. I’ve also creamed up some horseradish and added it into the broth for a spicy bite to this lazy day soup.
Take a look in your kitchen and see what flavors you have waiting to be added to your basic dishes. Just a little dash of this or that and you may find that you have just created your own signature dish. And don’t forget the spices, try something new that changes or enriches the flavors of the meats and vegetables that you’re cooking.
If you do some research, you will find a thousand and one variations of this recipe, going back into time around the world. Just about every culture has their own version of cooking this part of the hog;using the ham hocks in soups and stews, even braising them alone in wine or serving them with greens.
These soup dishes were intended to feed many, to feed them well and feed them cheaply! Not much has changed today so if you’re looking for a great tasting recipe or an inexpensive dish, this dish fits both of those requirements.
Ham hocks are the joint between the foot of the hog and the thigh or upper leg area. When you look at ham hocks in the grocery store, they look like a tough cut of the hog, but when cooked slowly they release a flavor from their bones and fat that is just undeniably delicious. It’s this collection of bones, cartilage and skin that surrounds the fat tendons and muscle and give the broth a great flavor.
Here’s my recipe which includes tarragon, which I love because it adds a sweetness to the broth and balances the salt from the ham hocks.
Ingredients for Split Pea Soup with Ham Hocks:
- 4-5 ham hocks
- 3 potatoes – cubed
- 3 stalks of celery – sliced
- 1 cup of split peas
- 1 onion –sliced
- 2 carrots – diced
- 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of broth
- Olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp tarragon, 1 bay leaf
Preparation of Split Pea Soup with Ham Hocks:
Set you pot on medium heat, add in the olive oil, onion and garlic. Let the onions become transparent, add the ham hocks and allow them to brown. Add the peppercorns and two cups of water or enough to cover the ham hocks and allow the pot to come to a boil letting the liquid reduce.
Normally the ham hocks are salted so you don’t need to salt to this part of the broth.
Once you get a boil, add in the
- bay leaf
- split peas
- two cups of broth
You can use either chicken broth or a pork broth. Let everything simmer for about an hour.
What you will get is a smooth thick broth because the vegetables with soften and leave just their flavors in the broth.