Split Pea and Ham Hock Soup with Garlic Naan

Split pea soup is the perfect winter soup.  It’s garish green color is somehow transformed into a nostalgic, comforting, cold-weather meal.  The ham hock adds a great deal of salty, porky undertones, for very little money, making the flavor succulent enough to match the soup’s hearty yet creamy texture.  Whenever I cook bacon, I keep the reserved fat in my fridge, cooking with it tablespoon by tablespoon.  In this recipe (an idea originating from Tasting Table), I encourage you to replace your unsalted butter, yawn, with some bacon fat.  I also urge you to try mopping up the remainder of your bowl with garlic naan, instead of traditional bread.  I got my store-bought garlic naan from Trader Joe’s, although please don’t let me stop you from making your own.  Enjoy!

Split Pea and Ham Hock Soup with Garlic Naan
6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 30 min

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 2 large stalks celery, chopped
• 3 medium carrots, chopped
• salt and pepper, to taste
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 smoked ham hock
• 1 pound green split peas
• 8 cups (2 quarts) low sodium chicken broth
• 2 bay leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• Garlic naan or sliced and toasted French baguette, for serving
• Bacon fat or unsalted butter, for the naan or bread

In a large dutch oven set over medium heat, saute the onions, carrots and celery in the olive oil with some salt and pepper until the vegetables are tender and the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the ham hock, split peas, chicken broth, bay leaves, oregano, and crushed red pepper and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat down to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the split peas are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove the hock and cut away the small amount of meat available with a knife.  Shred the meat into the soup, making sure to avoid gristle, and toss the hock once you’re done.  Taste and season with additional salt and freshly ground pepper if desired.

Brush the garlic naan or toasted baguette slices with the bacon fat or butter. Ladle the hot soup into bowls and serve each with naan or baguette.


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