Green Pea and Ham Soup

There is nothing I love more than a springy version of split pea soup. Especially ,when it is served with a crisp caesar salad. Broth Ingredients: 2lbs. ham hocks 1/2 medium yellow onion, halved 3 celery stalks, quartered 1 medium carrot, peeled and quartered 1 head of garlic, chopped in half horizontally, unpeeled 1 bay leaf 6 black peppercorns Soup Ingredients: 4 T. unsalted butter 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced 2 tsp. sea salt 1/2c. dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) Big pinch of mint leaves 2 - 10oz. pkgs. of frozen baby peas olive oil Freshly ground black pepper 4 T. creme fraiche Directions for the broth: Combine the hocks, vegetables, bay leaf, peppercorns and 8 cups of water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high​ heat. Once broth has come to a full boil, lower heat to low, cover with lid and simmer for 4 to 5 hours, Remove the hocks and put in a big pot and strain the liquid through a mesh strainer into the bowl with the hocks. Once cooled, remove the meat from the hocks and discard of the bones. Place the meat in a small bowl and set aside. This recipe only requires 4 cups of stock so you can freeze any leftovers for another time. Soup directions: Place butter in a large pot with a lid and warm over medium heat. When the butter begins to froth, add the onion, carrots and salt and stir. Cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil (you may need to turn the heat up for a bit). This will take about 5 minutes. Add the mint and 4 cups of broth and bring to a boil, then add the peas. The carrots at this point should be bobbing at the top. With a sotted spoon remove as many of the carrots as possible. I do this because when the carrots are pureed with the pea soup, they make the soup a weird green color. It looks much nicer when the orange carrots are more visible. Cook at a simmer until the peas are warmed for about 5 minutes. Blend the pot's ingredients with a hand blender, until smooth. Add the ham and carrots back to the pot and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Take a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. It all depends on how salty the ham is. Ladle into bowels, drizzle with a little olive oil, fresh black pepper and a few mint leaves. Add the creme fraiche in little dollops. Enjoy!

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