A few weeks ago Brady and I sat at Table 52's bar for dinner. The restaurant's bar has become one of our favorite low key dinner spots in my neighborhood. While the restaurant is on the upscale side, the bar is cozy and laid back and the perfect place to sit and order a beer and pizza. The bar faces the huge wood fired oven so it's fun to sit and watch the chef cook the pizzas, cornbread, mac and cheese and side dishes. The chef answers my (probably annoying) questions about ingredients and I'm crossing my fingers that if we go often enough he will politely share the recipe for Art Smith's famous Goat Cheese Biscuits. ** Fingers crossed! **
We usually both order the pizzas which are seasonal and feature a variety of unique ingredients but this around I opted for soup and salad. I had the Split Pea Soup and it was amazing. I have been thinking about it ever since. Last weekend, I decided to recreate Chef Art Smith's Split Pea Soup with Ham. Brady and I thought the soup turned out great, it's not as good as Mr. Smith's but definitely a soup recipe that I will be making again.
Split Pea Soup with Ham
Prep/Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 or 2 ham hocks - don't skip this ingredient, these are super cheap (about $2.00) and add so much flavor
2 cups cubed ham steak
3 bay leaves
6 low sodium bouillon cubes
8 cups of water
1 Ib bag of green split peas
1 tsp dried thyme
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onions, carrots and celery until they start to brown and soften. Add the ham hocks, chopped ham, bay leaves, water, bouillon cubes, split peas and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 1 hour.
After an hour the split peas should be soft and starting to dissolve. Add the cubed potato and simmer for an addition 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and ham hocks. If there is any meat on the ham hocks remove that and add to your soup pot. Use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup. You could also remove half of the soup from the pot and blend it in a food processor or blender and then add it back to the soup pot.
** If you would prefer a thinner soup add a little more water after blending.