SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH BACON, HAM HOCK & SPARE RIBS
- 4 ounces slab bacon, finely diced (reserved for garnish)
- 1 slab of pork spare ribs, cut into individual pieces (16 to 20 ribs)
- 1 small carrot, finely diced
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
- 1 pound split peas (1 1/3 cups)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bunch thyme sprigs (tied with kitchen twine)
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- crusty bread, for serving
- Sauté bacon in a 6-quart Dutch oven over med-low heat until the fat has rendered and it’s cooked, 5-10 mins. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon, increase the heat under the pot to medium,. Season the ribs with salt and pepper, add to pot. Brown on both sides, 3 minutes per side. Remove the ribs to a plate and set aside.
- Add the carrot, onion, celery, and salt and sweat the vegetables for about 3 minutes. Add the split peas, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, ham hock, cayenne pepper, black pepper, the ribs, and 2 1/2 quarts water. Simmer, skimming the foam that will rise to the surface as the water comes up to heat, until the peas and spare ribs are tender, 2-3 hours.
- Discard the bay leaf and thyme bundle. Remove the hock from the soup. When it’s cool enough to handle, pick the meat off it and add it back to the soup (discard the bone).
- To serve, divide the ribs among bowls and ladle the soup over them. Garnish with reserved bacon. Eat with abundant, crusty bread.