Pardon me while I embarrass the heck out of my tall, slender, attractive, brilliant, affable brother-in-law who can also cook really well. We went to Buffalo to visit him this past weekend and were treated to a pea soup so incredibly delicious on a cold January night (is there any other kind in Buffalo?) I just had to not only have it again the second night, I had to share it with you, dear reader.
It starts with a package of split peas, except that Bob noticed that what he actually bought was whole dried peas. So that’s what you get if you want to do exactly as Bob did it. Start your soup a day ahead of when you want to serve it.
- 1 pkg split peas (12 oz)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 2 dried pepper pods
- 1/4 tsp crushed chipotle
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp liquid smoke (Bob says optional, but I don’t)
- 8 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
Add all ingredients to the water and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 2 hours.
After simmering, remove ham hock and set aside. Remove bay leaf and pepper pods, then pour soup into a blender and blend briefly on low setting. (Be sure to review how to blend hot liquids.) Remove rind, fat, tendons and bone from ham, dice the meat into small pieces and add back to puréed soup.
- 5 stalks celery
- 4 med-large carrots
Remove leaves from celery and set aside. Dice celery and carrots to 1/2 inch. Simmer carrots for 1/2 hour, then add celery and simmer for another 1/2 hour. Mince celery leaves and stir in at the end.
Serve with crusty bread or your fresh-baked corn bread. Bon appétit!
“Pea soup and johnnycake make a Frenchman’s tummy ache.” – My mom, of pure French Canadian ancestry, used to always say that when serving pea soup and johnnycake (corn bread). Why? Because the “Frenchman” eats so much of it his tummy hurts! I don’t know if that was a warning or an invitation.