Saturday, September 27, 2008

Split Pea Soup

Growing up one of the few things my dad did in the kitchen was make soup. The two he made most often were Chicken Noodle - which is awesome! homemade noodles! - and Split Pea Soup. The latter made me gag. I'd have to vacate the house when he was making it because just the smell made me nauseous. I refused to eat it. When I met The Spouse, this was a food dislike we had in common, so it didn't cause any issues.

Fast forward to last winter. Strange events led us to being at my sister's house unexpectedly. She invited us to stay for dinner. When asked what they were having, she replied "Pea Soup."

The Spouse pulled a face as I looked at the non-stinky stock pot bubbling away on the stove. "Is that Dad's recipe? Cause I've never been a fan."

"God, no. Here, try it."

I took a tentative taste and my eyes widened. "Honey, try this!" The Spouse took a small mouthful and said "It doesn't suck! In fact, it tastes really good!"

The problem is, my sister is much like me - she cooks off the cuff and doesn't really write anything down. She gave me a vague idea of what had gone in the soup. I've been dying to try my hand at it since then and today I finally got a chance. I don't know if it's identical to what she did but it was still damn tasty!

Split Pea Soup

2 cups split peas, rinsed
1 quart beef broth
1 ham shank
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
dry vermouth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp marjoram
1 bay leaf
a pinch of lavender

Place the rinsed split peas in a stock pot and cover them with about 1 1/2 quart of water. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, then let sit for 1 hour (or soak them overnight). Add in the 1 quart of beef broth and the ham shank. Turn heat on and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in about 1 tbsp olive oil and heat thru. Add in onion, celery and carrots and sautee about 1 minute. Add in dry vermouth (about 1/4 cup) and continue sauteeing until onion begins to soften (about 3 minutes). Add vegetable mix to stock pot and stir. Add in spices and a dash more vermouth. Let soup simmer another 15 minutes.

Remove ham shank from pot, remove meat from the bone. Butcher the meat (remove the skin, tendons, and chop up) and add back to pot. Simmer another 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

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