Saveur (December 2008)
After nearly having our soup dreams derailed by Gingery Sweet Potato, we quickly got back on the train with this German Split Pea.
So lest you be despondent over the disappointment of our last post's recipe, this more than makes up for it -- a delicious, substantial soup that has all the comforting goodness you're looking for this winter.
It was our first time making split pea, a soup we both enjoy but rarely eat. We planned to make it prior to leaving town for the holidays. We purchased the ingredients but ran out of time pre-holidays (thank goodness cured meat lasts for a while in the fridge) and were eager to make this soup as soon as we got back to DC.
The recipe is very straightforward: chop, sauté, simmer & garnish. The entire process takes an hour and a half, the only "active time" being the initial chopping and then the shredding of the ham hock meat at the end.
In fact, the ham hocks are the only difficult part of this recipe. Having not cooked with them before, we were a little uncertain in the final steps of this recipe. After cooking in the soup, the ham hocks are removed from the pot, and then meat is chopped, shredded and replaced in the pot. Our ham hocks had much less meat than we expected, though it was still plenty of meat to flavor the soup.
But really, who can complain about a soup not having much meat in it when it's garnished with bacon?
We certainly can't.
German Split Pea Soup (Erbsensuppe)
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 small celery root, peeled and finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tbsp. flour
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 lb. green split peas, rinsed and drained
2 large smoked ham hocks (about 2 lbs. total)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Place oil and bacon in a 6-qt. pot and cook over medium-high heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add onions, celery, carrots, and celery root, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour; cook for 3 minutes.
2. Tie parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together with kitchen twine; add to pot with peas, ham hocks, and 7 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until peas are very tender, about 1 hour. Remove from heat. Discard herbs. Transfer hocks to a plate to let cool; pull off and chop the meat; discard fat, skin, and bones. Stir meat into soup, season with salt and pepper, and ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with reserved bacon.