Still looking for something festive to make for St. Patrick’s Day, but corned beef and cabbage isn’t your thing? How about some smooth, green pea soup, slow-cooked with smokey ham hocks, and served with homemade croutons? Might that be your thing?
Split Pea Soup with Ham
- 4 cups dried split peas, rinsed and picked through
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
- 10 cups chicken broth, water or vegetable broth
- 2 smoked ham hocks
- Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until they begin to get tender. Add the carrots. Cook for a couple more minutes. Add the peas, liquid, and ham hocks. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the peas from sticking on the bottom. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 1/2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. The peas should almost completely break down as the soup simmers. Remove the ham hocks and set aside. Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes. Then, carefully use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired texture. If the soup is thicker than you prefer, add a bit more broth or water. If the soup is too thin, simmer uncovered to reduce the liquid. Season with a generous amount of salt (a few teaspoons should be about right) and pepper. Remove the skin, bone, and fat from the ham hocks. Pull apart or chop the meat and add it to the soup.
For the croutons: Cut French bread into chunks. (Slightly stale bread works best.) Toss in a bit of olive oil. Season as desired. Salt, pepper, and garlic powder work well. Bake in a 375 degrees oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. I prefer my croutons to be crispy on the outside and slightly tender in the center!
A couple other St. Patty’s Day dinner ideas: