Split Peas Soup

1 pound dried split peas

1 ham hock

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1 pound Smithfield ham, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

8 cups water

1 bay leaf

5 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped


Score the ham hock. Place in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat.

Add onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until just soft, about 3 minutes.

Add garlic

Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add the ham hock and ham and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown.

Add peas, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes, and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Add 8 cups of water, bay leaf and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 1 hour. (Add more water as needed, if the soup becomes too thick or dry.)

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve immediately.