misshepeshu: (NOM)
[personal profile] misshepeshu
When the weather outside is frightful, and the vegetables in your crisper drawer are...less-than-delightful, there's only one thing to do: stay in and make soup, delicious sooouuuup. Sam requested split pea soup ages ago, and I'd never made a proper split pea soup before; I'd merely assisted an ex's efforts to perfect his split pea soup. Those soups turned out less than stellar, but I suspected it wasn't due to faulty technique--inferior ham hock and lack of onion were the two true culprits, I reckoned. So I bought a ham hock from the best butcher in town, Gartner's Country Meat Market. Including the onion was a shoo-in because I wasn't dating a person with an allium intolerance any longer.

And I was right. This version right here is the best split pea soup I've ever tasted. Which isn't necessarily saying much, because I've only had mediocre split pea soup. But it also falls solidly into the genre of "amazingly satisfying lentil soup exploding with umami," and I've had lots of those, and I can safely say this is one of my better efforts in that category.

Here comes the recipe!

You need:

1 large, meaty smoked ham hock, 2-3 lbs. (if you don't have access to a champion-grade butcher, get a bone-in smoked picnic ham instead)
3-4 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf (you can use more, if you like--I find bay overpowering)
Several large sprigs fresh thyme
1 very large sweet yellow onion, diced
3 large carrots or, in this instance, 5 wilted, sad-ass small carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, leaves and all, chopped
4 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced (most recipes don't include mushrooms, but I love 'em in lentil soups)
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 stick butter
3ish cups or about 1 lb. split peas
A buncha water--look, it's a soup, and it's hard to fuck this part up, because you can boil down if you have too much or add more if you didn't have enough

Make the stock
Toss ham hock into large soup pot, cover it with water, add bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns, and heat up until water juuust starts to boil. Turn heat down to low, and allow ham to simmer for 2ish hours, until meat is tender and starts to pull away from bone. Skim off the foam and any excessive bits of fat you find floating around. While this is happening, you need to:

Prep the vegetables
Once you've successfully made your vegetables smaller, you need to sautee 'em. In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium-high heat. Once butter stops foaming, throw in allll the vegetables and sautee until onions are translucent and mushrooms look shiny. Once that's been achieved, you'll want to

Turn the ham hock into ham bits
Retrieve the ham hock from the broth, and add the vegetables into the broth. Set the ham hock on a cutting board, and if you're sensible, you can wait until the thing is cool enough for you to handle. But sensibleness is for the faint of heart and stomach! Grab a fork and a boning knife, and cut away the meat and fatty rind from the hock. The hock I bought was amazing--I got well over a pound of meat off the bone. Separate the meat from the thickest layers of fat, and dice the meat into 1/2" cubes. Return these steaming chunks of heaven into the soup (after burning your mouth on a couple of choice bits because you were hungry and they smelled way too good for you to allow all of them to escape unscathed and whatever, blisters on the roof of the mouth are NO BIG DEAL and also totally worth it). Some authorities recommend discarding the bone and fat at this point, but I say FUCK YOU TOO MUCH FLAVOR LEFT IN THESE BITS, so I tossed them back in the pot, and friends, more bone and more pork fat in stew has never been a decision I regret in life. I left the fat in large sheets so they'd be easy to avoid when serving.

And then you add the lentils
Stir! Stir them all around! Make sure you stir thoroughly at least once every half hour or so, making sure to scrape the bottom, or the lentils WILL stick and they WILL burn and then you will know true sadness as you ruin your soup and also try to get the goddamn gluey mess off your pot afterwards. The soup is done when when the onions and lentils have disintegrated completely and you have something the consistency of cream. That'll take another couple of hours.

You can garnish with parsley and finely-chopped raw red onion. Or you can just fill a huge bowl with pure deliciousness and re-burn your mouth, reveling in the explosions of umami with every bite.
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.


misshepeshu: (Default)

December 2013

1 234567
2223242526 2728

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 06:34 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios