I was literally wearing shorts and a tank top less than three days ago. Yet I now am forced to layer three spring jackets on top of one another to keep warm (having jumped the gun and already packed away my winter things). Oh, North Country. You never cease to mess with me.
HOWEVER, the blustery, chilling weather got me hungry for something a little heartier. After realizing I’d bought smoked ham hocks instead of fresh ham hocks, a dish I have often heard of yet never been intimate with started to take root in my mind.
Split Pea Ham Hock Soup. It just sounds homey, doesn’t it? I disregarded the thought initially, because I didn’t have split peas on hand and usually don’t eat legumes. But then I remembered a bag of dried food a friend pawned off on me a little while ago, and LO AND BEHOLD there was a bag of organic split peas. It seemed like fate, so I gave in.
Thank the pork and pea gods I did. This soup was heavenly. I worked off a recipe from Simply Recipes, but I simplified and changed a bit to work with what I had, and threw it in the crock pot instead of being fancy and doing it on the stove.
Smoked Ham Hock and Split Pea Soup
- 1 lb green split peas, rinsed
- 1 medium onion, sliced into rings
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large ham hock or two small ham hocks
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth ( I used leek broth)
- 1 large bay leaf
This recipe is so easy yet so delicious it’s a little ludicrous.
1. Get out your crockpot.
2. Pour the split peas in the bottom, and layer in your onion and garlic. Perch the ham hock on top and pour in your stock and drop in the bay leaf.
3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours ( I did seven). When it’s finished, scoop out the ham hock and chop into small pieces (it will literally fall apart). If you want a smooth, silky soup, blend the pea and stock mixture before adding the pork back in. I was hungry and I like a little texture, so I left it alone.
4. It’s ready and eager to be eaten. So chop-chop!
This soup was warm and satisfying and smoky and unctuous. It doesn’t win any beauty pageants, but trust me, you should sacrifice the aesthetics for this one. Rejoice!