I was in the mood for a stick-to-your-ribs kind of soup last week, and set out on a quest for something to fulfill my craving. After combing through piles of books and magazines, I settled on this one-pot meal that I found stashed in my own recipe box from a number of years ago. I really don’t know where I got the recipe from, but it’s a good one! It’s chock full of ham, bacon and kielbasa (a spicy Polish sausage). This is a real meat-lovers’ soup for sure, and believe me, it will stick to your ribs. I love the smoky undertones of the pork hocks and the garlicky punch of the kielbasa. All of these more intense flavours are balanced by the creamy green peas and fresh herbs. Add a thick slab of your favourite bread and you have a super-hearty meal, sure to ward off the chill of the winter season.
I’m bringing a big pot of my pea soup over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday tomorrow. I know that winter is being particularly nasty to many of my blogging buddies this year. Maybe one of them will find some solace by tucking into a piping hot bowl of this yummy soup. If you haven’t joined us yet at Fiesta Friday, please do at The Novice Gardener. I know you will be thrilled, and will probably want to visit each week, like so many of us do. Hope to see you there!
Split Pea Soup with Kielbasa
1 pound (2 ¼ cups) dried split green peas
1 large, or 2 small smoked pork hocks
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 green onions, chopped
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
2 ½ quarts chicken stock
¼ pound bacon, diced
1/8 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 link of kielbasa (about ¾ pounds)
Rinse the peas in a colander. Place in a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Soak overnight.
Drain the peas. Wipe the ham hock down with paper towels. Put the peas and the ham hocks in the soup pot and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 45 minutes.
Place the bacon in a large skillet and fry until crisp. Remove from the skillet and allow to drain on paper towels. Remove all of the bacon fat except for 1½ tablespoons.
Place the onions, celery, carrots and green onion in the skillet and sauté until the vegetables become just tender.
Add the vegetables, parsley, rosemary and bay leaf to the soup pot containing the peas. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 2 hours, until the ham hocks are fork tender. Remove from the heat.
Remove the ham hocks from the soup and place on a working surface. Remove the skin and bones and shred the ham. With a large spoon, scoop the fat from the top of the soup.
Chop the kielbasa into about 6 pieces and add to the soup, with the shredded ham and the bacon. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered for about 30 – 40 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary.
To serve, remove the kielbasa from the soup and slice thinly. Place the soup in bowls and top with kielbasa slices and croutons if desired.