|Split Pea Soup au Gratin
Soup is good food! Your family will love this classic split pea soup, serve as is, or top with bread cubes and Gruyere and broil.
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1-2 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup vermouth or white wine
8-10 cups water
1 pound green split peas
2 pounds smoked ham hock/shank, cut ¾ inch thick
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
2-3 lemon zest curls, cut with veggie peeler
pinch of cloves, cinnamon, and crushed red pepper (optional)
6-10 whole peppercorns
Rustic bread, preferably 1-3 days old
Italian Parmigiano Reggiano
Fol Epi or Gruyere cheese, grated
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
In a large, heavy, pot, sauté onion, carrot and carrots in olive oil until soft and beginning to brown. Douse with ½ cup vermouth or white wine, and when almost evaporated add water, peas, ham hocks, thyme, parsley, bay, lemon (herbs and lemon can be tied with kitchen string for easy removal) and spices. Bring to a boil, skim, partially cover and reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
When meat is tender, 60-90 minutes, remove shanks, breaking up meat and discarding bones and skin. Remove herb bundle. If a smoother soup is desired, puree with an immersion blender. Add back meat; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat broiler and fill bowls 3/4 full with finished soup. Cut rustic bread into cubes and add to bowls, top with grated cheeses and brown under broiler. Serve - Chef Michaelangelo (mick) Rosacci, www.TonysMarket.com