Listen to mom: Soup is good food
Soup is good food” is what Mom used to say, and she was right! A ‘good’ soup combines plenty of veggies with meats, stock and other ingredients to nourish our body as it comforts our soul with the warmth of hearth and home.While all homemade soups are delicious, some are clearly more healthful than others. As a general guide, choose soups based on stocks with lots of vegetables and avoid cream-based soups. For instance, Split Pea and Minestrone are examples of great everyday soups, while Cream of Mushroom or Broccoli Cheese are best reserved as a start to an elegant meal.This week I offer a simple recipe for one of my favorite everyday soups – Split Pea with Ham – as well as an awesome crouton to accompany it. The recipes are easy, the soup is healthy and a pot full will keep your family smiling all weekend long.Homemade soup is good food. Just ask Mom! – Chef Mick Rosacci, Tony’s Meats & Specialty Foods Split Pea Soup with Ham
1 pound dry green split peas 1-2 pounds smoked ham hocks1/4-cup olive oil4 cups mirepoix (about 1 onion, 2 stalks celery, and 4 carrots, chopped)1 teaspoon salt, pinches of black and crushed red pepperLarge herb bundle (plenty of sprigs of fresh parsley, thyme, other herbs and 1-2 bay leaves – tied with cotton string)8 cups water 2 cups chopped red potatoes3/4 pound smoked ham cubes
Have your butcher saw ham hocks into steaks roughly 1 1/2-inch thick. Combine ham hock and peas in an 8-quart pot and add enough water to cover peas by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil for two minutes, cover pot and rest at least one hour. Drain and rinse.In the now-empty pot add 1/4-cup olive oil, garlic, mirepoix and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, sautéing until soft. Add back peas and ham shank along with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and skim. Add potatoes ham and bring back to a boil; skim. Reduce heat and simmer for 11 1/2 hours uncovered, skimming and stirring regularly. Add water if soup gets too thick. Remove ham shank to cool and smoosh the peas against the sides and bottom of the pot as desired – or puree with an immersion blender. If you like your soup chunky, skip this step and see variation that follows. Once cool, pick the meat from the ham shank and add back to pot, simmer and check for final seasoning.Serve hot with a pat of butter and a grind of pepper on top, and a bowl of Parmesan White Truffle Croutons on the side. – Chef Mick Rosacci, Tony’s Meats & Specialty Foods
*Variations: For a soup with chunky veggies, wait about 1 hour to add the potatoes. This soup is also delicious with slices of celery and whole baby carrots.Parmesan White Truffle Croutons12-16 ounces of day old rustic breadpinches of dry herbs, paprika, salt, pepper3-4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive OilFinely grated Reggiano Parmigiano1-2 teaspoons white truffle oil
Cut bread into large crouton sized cubes, strips or even rounds. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with seasonings to taste, then toss while adding olive oil slowly in a thin stream (put your glass of wine down for this one, you’ll need two to four hands).Once olive oil is evenly distributed, toss in desired amount of Parmigiano and transfer to a cookie sheet. Place in the top of a preheated 375-degree oven (convection) until toasted for 10-15 minutes, tossing several times.Place croutons back into bowl and drip/toss with 1-2 teaspoons of white truffle oil, do your best to get even distribution. Serve alongside Split Pea Soup. – Chef Mick Rosacci, Tony’s Meats & Specialty Foods Chef Michaelangelo (Mick) Rosacci and family own and operate Tony’s Meats & Specialty Foods, Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering, and Tony’s Wines. Get more recipes at http://www.TonysMarket.com.
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