Today was the first day of rain here in the Bay Area. It was cold and grey and miserable. The antidote to winter is: soup and bread.
I made pea and ham soup and fresh biscuits. For the biscuits I used Alton Brown’s Ma Maes recipe. I used self rising flour, so I left out the baking soda and baking powder and cut back the salt a bit. Really good biscuits those.
For the soup I first made a ham stock with lots of aromatics.
1 ham hock
1 rib celery
1 onion cut into quarters
4 sprigs dried thyme
10 – 15 pepper corns
3 dried chili peppers
2 bay leaves
water to cover
Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 or so hours. Remove hock and let cool. Strain out all vegetables.
1 onion chopped relatively fine.
1 garlic clove minced
2 or so tablespoons of oil (today I had some bacon fat, but neutral oil works as well)
2 cups peas
shredded ham from hock
fresh ham stock (should have 6 – 8 cups)
Sweat onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add peas and coat in oil. Then add shredded ham and stock. Cook for 2 – 3 hours until peas have melted into soup. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with warm bread.
Making the stock heavy on the aromatics, gives a deep and complex flavor to the soup. I’ve also done the soup with aromatics (carrots and celery) in the soup, but the vegetables distract a bit from the velvety peas and chunks of ham. By putting the aromatics in the stock, I got the flavor without the distraction.
Overall, it was a very good meal.