The Best Split Pea Soup You'll Ever Taste
4 cups of split peas (2 lbs)
3 cans of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 cup of half n half
1 1/2 cups of dry white wine
1 large smoked ham hock (2 lbs)
4 thick strips of bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 large shallot, finely minced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
Start by preparing your ingredients before you start cooking. With a sharp knife, cut deep slits into the ham hock. Doing this will bring out the flavors of the ham hock while cooking. Chop the bacon and saute in a frying pan on medium high until semi crisp. Remove, let the bacon sit on a paper towel. Take 1/2 cup of the white wine and deglaze the pan. Set aside. Chop your vegetables as instructed above.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Saute the garlic, onion, and shallots until translucent. Next, add the wine and stir, continuing to cook for a minute or so. Next, add the carrots and celery, stir and saute another minute or so. Now add the chicken stock and water, stir and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the ham hock, continuing to cook covered for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the ham hock and set aside to cool. Now add the split peas, stir and bring back to a boil. Cover and continue to cook on low. When ham hock has cooled enough to the touch, begin to debone, removing excess fat and cutting the meat in 1/2 inch pieces. Once that's done, return meat and bone to the pot, cover and continue to slow cook for about an hour, stiring every 10 minutes so peas don't stick to bottom of pot.
After an hour, the split peas should well be on their way to producing a nice creamy consistency. Now add the sauteed bacon and the juice from the deglazed pan. Stir and taste for flavor. At this time you may add the garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Stir and while stiring, slowly add the half n half, making sure that it is well blended. You may, if you wish, take 2 cups of the soup and puree it in a food processor and add it back to the pot. Continue to slow cook, stiring frequently, for another 20 minutes. Make sure you don't forget to stir frequently, as this is the time when the split peas can begin to stick at the bottom and if not attended to, can burn.
When finished, turn off the burner and set the pot aside for about 5 minutes to cool a bit. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with minced parsley and a little grated parm or swiss, along with a couple of slices of old fashion crusty hearth bread. Enjoy!