|Split Pea Soup
1 pound green split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained
8 cups cold water
1.5-2 lbs smoked ham shank or hock, sawed in half
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1-2 cloves bruised garlic
1/2 bunch Italian parsley,
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large soup pot over high heat add the peas, water, ham shank slices, celery, onion, carrots and garlic. Tie the parsley, thyme and bay leaves together with butcher’s twine, or add without tying and remove later. Bring to a boil, skim, partially cover and reduce to a low simmer, cooking until the meat and peas are as tender as you like, 2-4 hours. A pressure cooker can speed the process to about 40 minutes, reduce the water to 5-6 cups.
Remove the smoked shanks and cool, remove the herbs and garlic and discard. If a smoother texture is required, some or all of the soup can be pressed through a strainer, pureed or broken up with an immersion blender – take great care when pureeing hot liquids.
When shank is cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones, chop or shred as desired and return to the pot. Bring to a simmer, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serves about 6