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Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham

1 lb Split peas (about 2 cups)
12 c Water (or more)
1 1/2 lb Smoked ham hocks
3 md Onions - chopped
1 tb Chopped garlic
1 Bay leaf
1 ts Whole allspice
Tabasco
Croutons


Soak split peas overnight in large pot with enough cold water to cover by at least 3 inches. Drain. Return split peas to pot. Add 12 cups water, ham hocks, chopped onions, garlic, gay leaf and allspice. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until split peas are tender, stirr occasionally and adding more water as necessary if soup becomes too thick, about 2 hours. Remove ham hocks from soup and cool slightly. Cut skin and fat from ham hocks and discard. Cut meat from bones and return meat to soup. Season soup with Tabasco, salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with croutons and serve. 8 servings.




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