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Author Notes: My local wine store has a wonderful deli. On occasion, proscuitto heads are available. We are a soup loving family that includes young adults. Split pea soup has always been one of my favorites so I thought that adding a proscuitto head to the soup would add some lovely flavor. The soup was delicious (at least by my family's standards). —smosann
Makes 2 quarts
- 1 pound green split peas
- 1 proscuitto head, ham hock, smoked poultry or similar ingredient
- 1 onion
- 2-3 carrots
- 2-3 celery stocks or one fennel bulb (save the leaves and/or fronds)
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
- 4-6 small waxy potatoes, chopped (optional)
- 2-3 cups water
- - salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6-8 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-6 whole cloves
- olive oil
- Rinse dried green split peas; check for stones and/or pebbles. Slice onion and chop carrots and celery (if using fennel, slice fennel). Prepare aromatics by placing whole cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and celery leaves or fennel fronds in tea bag (paper tea bags are available at reputable tea shops in your area); set aside.
- Heat olive oil on medium heat in stock pot, to cover bottom of stock pot. When warm, add vegetables and saute for 10-12 minutes on medium-low to medium heat. Don't brown the vegetables. When soft, add pinch of salt and the dried thyme; saute for 30-45 seconds, when the ingredients become aromatic.
- To the sauted vegetables, add split peas, waxy potatoes (if using), tea bag with aromatics, chicken stock, 2 cups water, and proscuitto head (or smoked meat/poultry). Bring to a boil, remove scum that has accumulated, & reduce to a simmer. Cover partially and cook for 60-75 minutes. If liquid doesn't cover proscuitto, turn every 20 minutes. After 30 minutes, begin checking liquid; add up to 1 cup of water if soup seems "dry." Be sure to bring soup back to a boil if adding additional liquid, then reduce to simmer.
- When soup is finished cooking, remove proscuitto and bag of aromatics. Allow soup to cool for 10-15 minutes then blend in stock pot, using an immersion blender. You may chop up the meat and add to soup when serving. Serve and enjoy!
- Adding the meat to the cooking process is optional. For meat eaters, it does add to the flavor.
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