I’ve been making this soup for years, and it’s constantly evolving. In this latest version, I’ve introduced the sweetness of carrots and the creaminess of Gouda. The crostini garnish is a more flavorful substitute for the traditional crouton.
SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH GOUDA CROSTINI
2 ½ quarts low-sodium or unsalted chicken stock
4 carrots, cut in thirds
1 lb dried split green peas, rinsed & drained
3 smoked ham hocks (about ½ lb each)
¼ lb salt pork, chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thinly
4 green onions, chopped
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
¼ tsp dried rosemary
¼ tsp ground pepper
1 bay leaf
¾ cup shredded gouda
1 sourdough baguette
1-2 cloves garlic
1 cup shredded gouda
In a large stockpot, bring chicken stock to a boil and add carrots. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes, covered. Remove carrots and discard.
To the stock add the peas and ham hocks, and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, covered.
While peas are simmering, in a large skillet, sauté salt pork until crisp. Add celery, onion, and green onion, cooking until onion is golden.
To the peas and hocks, add the sautéed salt pork mixture, parsley, rosemary, pepper, and bay leaf. Mix well. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, covered. Remove from heat.
Remove hocks from pot and cool. Remove skin and excess fat, chop meat, and add meat to pot. If soup seems too thick at this point, stir in a little water. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for another 30 minutes, covered.
While soup is finishing, make the crostini.
Preheat your oven to broil. Slice baguette into ½ inch slices on the diagonal. Arrange bread slices on a non-stick baking sheet and broil until they just start to turn golden. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes.
Rub garlic on browned side and turn over. Place enough gouda on untoasted side to cover – about 2 teaspoons. Return to broiler and cook until cheese is bubbly and golden. Set aside.
Just before serving, stir the ¾ gouda into the soup until completely melted. Serve immediately with crostini as a garnish.