Best split Pea and Ham soup
1 smoked ham hock
1 ham slice (bone-in)- chopped in 1/2" cubes
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 stalks celery- chopped 1/2" dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
5-6 fresh thyme sprigs
2 dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2" thick rounds
2 medium-diced red potatoes, cut in 1/2" cubes
1 pound dried split green peas (un-soaked)
8 cups vegetable broth
In a large pot (I like a large cast iron dutch oven- but you can also use a pressure cooker or slow cooker that has browning capabilities) on medium heat, add the 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add the ham hock, ham bone round, and diced ham- cook until they begin to caramelize, then throw in the chopped yellow onions and minced garlic. Cook until onions are caramelized- 10-15 minutes. Scrape up any browned bits from the ham and bones.
Add your salt and pepper, and scrape the thyme leaves from the sprigs into the pot. Mix well and cook until thyme becomes fragrant.
Add the carrots, celery, 1/2 pound of split peas, vegetable broth, and your 2 dried bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes- leaving the ham hock and bone round in the soup until the very end, to get as much smokey ham flavor as possible.
Add the remaining split peas, and your potatoes, and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft and potatoes are fork tender. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper- I always end up needing to add more salt. Remove the ham hock and ham bone round before serving.
Serve with a piece of crusty buttered bread.