Split Pea Soup

We've been enjoying some unseasonably warm weather lately. Last week we broke several high temperature records here in Raleigh, NC with a high of eighty degrees! Well that all changed this weekend when the cold and wet weather set in. That's all the reason I needed to cook up a nice hot pot of soup, split pea to be exact. It's hot, hearty and bursting with flavor. You can find split peas in the grocery isle with the dried beans, but unlike the other dried beans, these don't have to soak before cooking, making this much less time-consuming than other bean soups. This recipe may also be a good use of the post-holiday ham bone that sits unused in most peoples refrigerators. I've added potatoes to this to make it even more hearty and filling, this is definitely a "soup that eats like a meal".

Split Pea Soup
serves 4-6

1Lb. dried split peas- rinsed and picked through for debris
2 Tbsp olive Oil
3 cloves garlic- smashed and chopped fine
1 medium onion- chopped fine
2 stalks celery- chopped fine
2 carrots- skinned and cut to bite-size
1 medium potatoes- skinned and cut to bite-sized
1 bay leaf
1 Tsp sea salt- or to taste
2 Tsp Pepper
1 Tsp dried Thyme
4 whole Cloves
1 Tsp Jamaican Allspice
1 Ham hock - or ham bone with meat
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups filtered water

Heat olive oil in a large pot to medium, stir in onions, cook about a minute until soft.
Stir in garlic and celery, cook for another minute, add the salt, pepper thyme, cloves, bay leaf, allspice and ham hock.
Add the rinsed split-peas, and carrots. Heat and mix all together well
Pour in the chicken stock, water and potatoes, bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
Once boiling reduce heat to to a simmer, cook uncovered for 1 hour stirring occasionally.
Remove Bay leaves, 4 cloves and ham hock. Remove the meat from the ham-hock, cut to bite size and return it to the pot (optional)
Take about 1/4 of the total soup and run it in a food processor or blender until smooth, return it to the pot and stir all together, serve.


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