I made this exotic-sounding soup for supper last Sunday, and it was love at first sip. To my surprise, Pinot Grigio — the soup’s secret ingredient — brings out the earthy, “green” taste of common split peas. It compliments the smoky flavor of ham hocks, too.
The wine addition was the result of bad planning on my part. I had only four cups of chicken stock on hand, when my recipe required six. What to do? I made up the difference with Pinot Grigio, and it was a fortunate stroke of serendipity.
Here’s the photographic step-by-step, followed by a printer-friendly version that you can print out with just one click:
Next, pour a glug of good olive oil into a 6-quart Dutch oven. In the photo above, I’m using a blue, enameled cast-iron Dutch oven manufactured by Lodge. It was obtained from this online source.
And by the way, lots of pea soup recipe-writers insist that we saute our veggies until soft before adding any liquid. That step isn’t necessary for this soup. The addition of olive oil is purely for flavor. Or for flavour, if you reside in the U.K. or Canada.
Now cover the works with 4 cups unsalted chicken stock…
And 2 smoked ham hocks (about 1 pound total). Bury the hocks beneath in the soup. Ham hocks lend an indescribably wonderful smokey accent, so please don’t omit them. And be sure to used smoked, not salt-cured, hocks.
No pictures of these next steps: Bring the soup to a boil on the stove top. Then cover the pot, and let the soup simmer quietly until the carrots are tender — about 90 minutes.
Shall we make some croutons to go with our soup?
Then add 8 1/2-inch-thick slices of a crusty baguette. Fry the bread for a few minutes on each side, or until they are golden-brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with kosher salt or sea salt.
Back to our soup. Using tongs, remove the ham hocks. If you wish, you can try to pull off any meat, but trust me, you’ll be wasting your time. Ham hocks offer very little usable meat. Their purpose is flavor, not food. That’s why we added cubed ham when we assembled the soup.
This morning, I brought Brenda Johnson a bowl of this bliss to taste-test. Shall I tell you what happened after she took a sip?
1) The clouds parted.
2) The angels sang.
3) Brenda held her hand to her head, and began to speak in tongues.
You’ll have a mouth orgasm, too, if only you will try this soup. Do me proud and make a batch, okay?
Here’s the printable:
(Update: Many readers have asked about the blue and white bowl/plate pictured above. I obtained both from this online source.)
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