Oh, I wish I liked soup, I really do. I see so many wonderful recipes for soup, but I just don’t like eating it. Perhaps it’s the same reason I am not crazy about hot chocolate, hot coffee and hot tea … not crazy about hot liquids. Sadly, my husband loves soup.
I occasionally believe we are the culinary equivalent of Jack Spratt and his wife. He doesn’t like crunchy potatoes or fries – I can’t live without them. He takes the skin off chickens and turkeys and – hang onto your hats – throws it away – I am sure that is a sacrilege somewhere. Fried chicken? He doesn’t like it. Frosting? Nope, doesn’t like that either. Butter on Popcorn? Nope. And he loves soup. Sigh.
He is playing this heart attack card to its fullest. Don’t get me wrong – I understand a appreciate the situation. BUT it was a mild heart attack, the doctor said he will be fine, it was strictly hereditary, and a little diet change, exercise and meds and he will continue to make me want to bang my head against the wall for many years to come. THANK GOD!
‘I really love soup. You know, I had a heart attack, soup would make me feel better.’
‘Really? What type of soup would make your heart attack feel better?’
‘Split Pea Soup.’
REALLY? Of all the soups there are in the vast culinary world he picks SPLIT PEA SOUP. I was aghast, a little freaked out – speechless even – and for those of you who know me, that’s nearly impossible. Who do you call for help in a situation like this? Well, for me – Ernie. She suggested the Split Pea Soup from Barbara Kafka’s Soup: A Way of Life. The recipe looked simple enough. Straight forward, not a lot of silly ingredients. I guess the man was getting Split Pea Soup after all.
- 1 pound split peas
- 1 small ham hock
- 12 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 T vegetable oil
- 4 medium carrots — 1/4 inch dice
- 2 medium ribs celery — 1/4 inch dice
- 1 large onion — 1/4 inch dice
- 2 cloves garlic — smashed and peeled
- kosher salt – to taste
- cubed croutons – optional
NOTE: I chopped the garlic after I smashed it. I also found sliced ham hock at my market. It seemed that would be so much easier to deal with.
In a tall narrow stockpot, bring the peas, ham hock, stock, and bay leaves to a boil. Lower the heat. Simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the ham hock and allow to cool slightly. Remove and discard the skin. Tear the meat into bite-sized pieces.
While the soup is simmering, in a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring for 8 minutes.
Stir the vegetables into the soup with the meat from the ham hock. Return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Season with salt.
Sprinkle some croutons on each portion or pass them.
NOTE: He doesn’t like croutons either! The soup alone in the bowl looked sad and lonely, the croutons made a better photo. I tried the soup, with the croutons of course, it wasn’t as awful as I expected. The soup was easy to put together, the most difficult part? All the chopping – and even that’s not much. The best part? My husband loved it, said it was delicious and better than his mother’s. Is there a greater compliment a husband could give his wife?