Quite a long time ago my friend Heidi asked about recipes for split pea soup/stew. I make this regularly and never use a recipe, so I was not very helpful in explaining the process. I might have said something like, “put your peas into some broth and add some sort of pork”. So, this week I was making it again, and I did document it. I do confess that every time I make this it is different. It’s more of a freestyle recipe–using different cuts of meat/smoked hock, ham, etc. But this one was a keeper. I hereby dedicate this to Heidi for being so patient in waiting for it to be published.
- 1 large fresh pork hock—not smoked—with skin on, about 1 ½ lb
- 1 large onion, chopped large
- 2 heads (not cloves!) of garlic, peeled and smashed a bit (about ½ C. . . I know, it’s a lot!)
- ¼ C extra virgin olive oil
- 1 t ground cumin (or smashed in mortar/pestle preferred)
- 1 t ground coriander (again, smashed in mortar is awesome)
- 1 t dried thyme
- 2 t kosher salt
- ½ t coarsely ground pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 bay leaves
- 6-8 C chicken broth (4 for the pork roast and 4 to use later for the peas)
- 1 lb dried split peas (2 C)
- Grated Romano cheese to garnish
- Heat oven to 450F.
- Score the hock with a sharp knife. You want to cut through that fat layer to help it release all of its porky goodness. (It may look like a turtle or a pineapple on a bad hair day after you are done. No worries.)
- In a casserole that has a lid, pile the onions and garlic on the bottom.
- Rub the hock with oil and add the cumin, coriander, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Place hock on top of the onions and garlic.
- Add 2 C of chicken broth
- Put hock and onions and broth in the casserole UNCOVERED and cook until browned for about 20 minutes. Do not let the broth burn.
- Take out, turn hock upside down.
- Add 1-2 more C of broth, cinnamon and bay leaves.
- Reduce heat to 350F and cook for 45 minutes.
- Remove, turn hock over again. Add more broth if it is getting dry. Return to oven for 45 minutes.
- OK, I know this is taking a long time, but if you have an Instant Pot, you will now put everything into that bad girl and pressure cook it for 10 minutes. Make sure you have at least 2 C of liquid when you do. (If you do not have an Instant Pot, I feel so sorry for you. You will need to add 2 more cups of broth and roast covered for another 30-45 minutes.)
- Once your pork is done, remove it and shred it off the bone. Remove the fatty pieces, as you will probably not like them. Many people like the skin, however—especially if it is given a quick dice and flash in a frying pan to crisp up (save to sprinkle on top).
- Add the pork and all the good drippings into your Instant Pot. You will want 6 C of liquid in addition to your pork. Add more broth to make up that measure. If you are not using an Instant Pot, you will still need the same amount of liquid.
- Add the dried split peas.
- Cook: in Instant Pot (15 minutes) or if conventional pot cooking 40-45 minutes or until the peas are to the desired consistency. Mr. Artifact likes his well-pulverized, so I always have to do more time to get them to his liking. Me? I like them identifiably al dente, but most people don’t like that.
- Remove bay leaves and cinnamon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- To serve, ladle into bowls and top with some Romano cheese.
And, best part of this whole recipe is that it is BETTER as leftovers and that it FREEZES great.
Thanks to Heidi for giving me a reason to commemorate this.