Good soups start with rich, homemade stock. Split pea soup makes a deeply satisfying, hearty meal that is perfect for a rainy, winter day — don’t forget to bake some cornbread to go with it! Serve with a glass of syrah or Grüner Veltliner.
2 cups onions, sliced
1 cup carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups celery (and leaves), chopped
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 ½ cups green split peas
3-4 ham hocks or leftover ham bone with meat
3 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fines herbes
6 cups rich, homemade chicken stock (available from Fogline Farm)
1 can evaporated milk
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry sherry
Fresh marjoram or chives, minced
Sour cream, if desired
Croutons, if desired
In large stockpot, melt butter or olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, and celery. Sauté vegetables until onions are translucent. Add split peas, ham hocks (or ham bone), peppercorns, bay leaf, fines herbes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover, and turn down heat and simmer slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove hocks or bone.
Force pea mixture through food mill, pushing as much pulp through as possible. (Alternately, cool mixture, and process pea mixture in blender in small batches. Be careful not to over-process—some texture is desired.)
Return mixture to stockpot and stir in evaporated milk. Thin with more chicken stock, if desired, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
Just before serving, add dry sherry to taste (about 1/2 cup). Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of freshly minced marjoram or chives.
For heartier meal:
Stir in 2 cups diced cooked carrots, 2 cups cooked diced potatoes, and chopped meat from ham hocks or diced ham. top with garlic croutons made from whole grain bread.