This time of year always gets me thinking about family, especially my Grandmother, the delightful Doris Johnson. Gram truly relished her role as matriarch of our family and always took great pride in her cooking, whether it was a Tuesday night dinner for my Grandfather or a holiday meal for the entire family.
Whenever we arrived at my Grandparents' house, she was always in the kitchen whipping up all sorts of delicious dishes, many of which we came to love growing up. One in particular is her recipe for Split Pea Soup. It is a very simple recipe, but it is so delicious, comforting and, for me, incredibly nostalgic. My Mom used to make it quite a bit too and now, when the temperatures begin to drop, I can't wait to whip up my first pot of the season!
A few notes about making this recipe: please don't substitute fresh herbs for the dried, even though you might really want to. The recipe just isn't the same, trust me! Also, this is definitely not the time to go vegetarian - the ham hock really makes this dish and gives it so much delicious flavor. For me, pea soup without a ham hock is like Thanksgiving without a turkey, I just can't imagine it!
I know it would make Gram very happy that I'm sharing this recipe with all of you and I wish she was still here so I could tell her. Somehow though, I think she knows. I hope you enjoy Gram's recipe and I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season!
Gram's Split Pea Soup
16 oz. split green peas
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. ham hocks
dried thyme (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
dried oregano (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
garlic powder (a dash)
salt & pepper
Directions: Empty peas into pot, add enough water to cover peas plus one inch.
Add remaining ingredients (to taste), cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes - but at least 1 hour. Stir well while simmering.