Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Split pea soup and "9 to 5"

The other night my roommate and I watched "9 to 5" on the movie channel. Boy, did I love this film and still do... This is one of those junky, guilty-pleasure movies that I have to watch everytime it comes on. I just adore Dolly Parton. It was she who said, "It takes a lot of money to look cheap." I love that quote. So as we watched Dolly, Lilly and Jane, I put a pot of split pea soup on ths stove.

I've been trying to keep a tighter budget so I can get a job where I will only have to work "9 to 5" so I've been opting for some cheaper menu options. This was pretty darn cheap since I used the old dried peas that had been sitting in our cupboard for the past two years. Living on soup is always a good way to save bucks. I don't have an exact recipe for this soup. I just estimate as I'm going along. The secret to a good split pea soup is a quality hamhock. You can get a cheap hock from Honey Baked Ham (stores) or your local butcher shop (do these still exist?). When I was little, my father would sometimes order a Virginia ham at Christmas time. When I was finally allowed to cook I would take the leftover ham bone and use it to make the best soup ever, but I had to watch the salt since Virginia hams are some of the saltiest around.

9-5 Split Pea Soup
** 2 lb packages Split green peas (yellow works too)
**1 ham hock
**3 yellow onions, chopped
**3 large carrots, sliced
**2 quarts organic chicken broth
**Salt
**Pepper
**2 tbsp canola oil
**a damn big pot

Rinse and soak the peas overnight. Before cooking drain & rinse them again.In the soup pot, throw the onions with the canola oil and cook until their slightly carmelized. Add salt and pepper (not too much salt because there's plenty in the chicken broth and the ham). Add the broth, the hock and bring to boil. Add the peas and bring to a boil again. Reduce to medium low heat and simmer stirring occasionally to make sure that the soup isn't burning on the bottom of the pot. Cook uncovered for 1 hour. Add the carrots. Cook for another hour or until peas are fully cooked. Serve with grated sharp cheddar and flatbread crackers. Yummy!

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