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The Best of Winter Soups: Spit Pea Soup with Smoked Ham

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It always seems like winter is the longest of all the seasons. Maybe it is because it is so gloomy. Maybe it is because we spend more time indoors than out, or maybe it is because many winter-type dishes are boring and bland. Well, I can't change the weather but I can change the boring and bland winter fare.

Nothing quite eases and warms the soul on a cold winter day better than homemade soup. This version of split pea soup has all the taste and texture elements you love in this classic soup with a few little flavor surprises. For a perfect winter dinner, just add a loaf of fresh artisan bread and a bottle of chilled white wine!

Ingredients needed for Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham (serves 4):

  • 1 pound dried split peas
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 ounces smoked ham, cubed
  • 2 white onions, whole and unpeeled
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 6 Tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ cup whipping cream

Steps:

  1. In a large saucepan bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the split peas and smoked ham. Bring back up to a boil and skim off any foam which might appear.
  2. Into each of the whole and unpeeled onions place 2 whole cloves. Place the onions, ham hocks, carrots and leeks into the saucepan. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook 90 minutes.
  3. Remove the ham hocks from the soup. Scrap the meat off the bones of the ham hocks and place in a bowl and set aside. Discard the bones.
  4. Spoon the soup into a food processor or blender and puree.
  5. Pour the puree back into the pan and over medium heat stir in the ham hock meat, butter, sugar, whipping cream and remaining 1 cup of water.
  6. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and serve.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.

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