Prep 20 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Combining onions, carrots and potatoes lightens the heaviness of the dried peas, while adding flavor and sweetness. Try to get a smoked ham hock that is not too smoky or salty. If you can, get Wigwam ham from S. Wallace Edwards & Sons in Surry, Virginia. It’s pleasantly smoky and not as salty as other smoked ham. When it arrives trim it 4 to 6 inches off the hock, wrap it well and store it in the freezer until you are ready to make a pot of pea soup.
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 1⁄2 lbs smoked ham hocks
- 1 1⁄4 lbs Spanish onions, finely diced
- 1 1⁄2 lbs russet potatoes (red skinned potatoes may be substituted for Yukon Gold) or 1 1⁄2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice (red skinned potatoes may be substituted for Yukon Gold)
- 2 plump carrots, cut into medium dice
- 1 lb split peas, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, bruised with the bottom of a heavy pan
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorns, bruised with the bottom of a heavy pan
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon herbes de provence
- 3 cups water
- 1⁄4 cup dry marsala wine
- fresh ground white pepper
- In a heavy stockpot, combine stock, ham hocks, onions, potatoes, carrots, split peas, black and white peppercorns, salt, bay leaves and herbes de Provence. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring from time to time. Add 2 cups water and continue simmering, partially covered, for 1 hour more.
- Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, remove ham hocks from the pot. Slice meat from bone and cut into small bites; set aside.
- With the skimmer or slotted spoon, remove solids from pot, discard bay leaves and puree through a food mill placed over a large bowl or in a food processor. When all solids are pureed, return them to the pot and blend. Stir in remaining 1 cup water and Marsala. Season with additional salt and white pepper to taste. Stir in ham meat, partially cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. If soup is too thick, thin with a bit more water or stock. Ladle into heated bowls and serve. Serves 6 to 12: makes about 3 quarts.
- *Here is a very basic for herbes de Provence blend that can be mixed if you can’t find this herb, although each cooks adds her or his own touch to the blend which changes it slightly.
- 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 tablespoon marjoram, 1 tablespoon summer savory, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 crushed bay leaf, 1 teaspoon lavender (optional), 1 teaspoon fennel. Mix together and keep in a covered container.
- Onions Onions Onions.