Paolo - Soup Tureen
Soup Tureen
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La Belle Cuisine - More Soup Recipes

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Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create an act of integrity, and faith."


Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham




"A first rate soup is better than a second rate painting."
~ Abraham Maslow

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  Anonymous - Beans, Peas and Lentils
Beans, Peas and Lentils
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Friday, November 10, 2006

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Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham
Tom Fitzmorris

 “A frequent caller to the radio show once told me to be on the lookout for smoked pork shoulders (which they call "picnics"), which Winn-Dixie often puts them on sale very cheap. He made a stock using one of those, based on a suggestion in Cooks Illustrated. With that stock he made what he said was the best split pea soup of his life. This fired up my interest. So I bought one of those things and made the pea soup that way. And he was right.
The weather has not exactly been the wintry kind I associate with split pea soup. But then we eat heavy potages like gumbo and turtle soup all the time, so why not pea soup, too? Especially if you make it on the light side, with a good stock.
I've loved split pea soup since I was a little kid. I remember my mother serving it to us in big bowls with broad rims. The soup was so hot--and took so long to cool--that she said we should spread it on the rim to cool it faster.
Later, I learned that I liked split pea soup made a bit thinner and spicier than my mother made it, with the addition of carrots. I make it every now and then, but today's is the first batch with this new ham hock element.
The recipe below is the one I use now. It comes out with the perfect balance of flavor, one that doesn't need chunks of ham floating in there to taste great…

The thing that makes this soup wonderful is the smoked pork picnic. That's the cheap shoulder cut that doesn't make for an especially good ham sandwich, but would be great for a stock. Wait until smoked pork picnics go on sale, as they
often do."

3-4 pound smoked pork picnic (shoulder)
1 medium onion, cut up
Stems of one bunch of parsley
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon marjoram

2 tablespoons butter
1 rib celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound split peas, washed
1/2 pound carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco green pepper sauce

1. Put all the stock ingredients into a stockpot with about a gallon and a half of water. Bring the pot to a light boil and hold it there for two to three hours, uncovered.
2. Sort and rinse the split peas, then put them in a bowl of water deep
enough to cover by two inches.
3. When the ham comes easily off the bone, remove the ham and strain the stock.
4. Rinse the stockpot and wipe dry. Melt the butter and sauté the celery, onion, carrots, and garlic until the onions have browned slightly. Add the Worcestershire sauce and then 1 3/4 quarts of the strained stock. Add the peas, salt, and Tabasco and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for two hours, until the peas are tender enough to pulverize with thumb and forefinger.
5. Strain the soup and puree the solids in a food processor, then add it back to the broth. Shred as much ham as you'd like in your soup and add it.
Adjust seasonings and serve hot.

[Note] Reserve the rest of the ham and stock (you can reduce the stock to make it easier to store) for other purposes (jambalaya or pasta dishes, for example).

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