Split Pea Soup with Ham Hocks and Garlic Yogurt

As many of you know, my 88-year-old father is nearing the end of his happy and fortunate life. For the past couple months, as his health has gone downhill, I’ve been spending lots of time with my parents in the Pacific Northwest, hence my lack of blog posting.

I’m heading back down to Washington again on Wednesday. At home in Alaska, I’ve been making lots of freezer food so my husband can have quick and easy meals while I’m gone. This weekend, I spent a lazy Saturday afternoon making a giant pot of Split Pea Soup, comfort food at its most basic.

I started making Split Pea Soup 35 years ago as a college student living on work study wages. In those days, I ate it because it was cheap, filling, and very tasty. Now, I eat Split Pea Soup just because it tastes good. As it has evolved over the years, my Split Pea Soup recipe is one of my favorites.

Ham Hocks

There are two keys to making wonderful split pea soup: the soup must cook at low temperature for a long time and the ham hock (or leftover ham-bone) must be meaty and of best quality. Low and slow cooking allows the flavors to meld seamlessly into one another, and the cartilage in the hock to dissolve and give the soup a silky mouth feel. In Anchorage, Mr. Prime Beef on the Old Seward Highway sells beautifully meaty smoked ham hocks; make sure to have the butcher cut them into thirds for ease of cooking and better tasting soup. The other day, I also say nice-looking whole ham hocks at Natural Pantry; sadly, this store doesn’t have an in-store butcher to cut them up.

Be sure to check out the recipes mentioned in this post:


10 Responses to Split Pea Soup with Ham Hocks and Garlic Yogurt

  1. Laurie, it’s saddening for your father, exhausting for you as a daughter and caregiver.

    Take care of family matters and we’ll be here when you are.

  2. Hi Laurie, I’m sorry to hear about your father. I hope you are keeping strong and also finding the time to look after yourself a bit. I’ve missed reading your food posts but I completely understand that you are busy and have other more important things to deal with at the moment. Good to know that your husband is well fed in your absence…I too, make a split pea soup but without the pork meat. I just add some liquid hickory smoke to the soup and it acquires that smokey flavour. I’m sure my version of split pea soup pales in comparison to your heartier authentic version, which sounds very delicious, by the way, with the added garlic yogurt. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

  3. I echo Peter M’s comments about your father…happy to offer any help if needed too. P.S. Love the soup…an oldie but a goodie!

  4. Mediterranean kiwi says:

    hello again my friend
    i feel for you at this difficult time
    everything has its beginning and end, which is always a sad time
    glad to see you can write and tell us about it

  5. A gorgeous, classic recipe! It never gets old. Love the garlic yoghurt.

    Can’t wait to see your unusual format for the round-up. I’ll have my recipe up within a few more days.

  6. This must be a tough time for you and your family and I wish you all well. The positive thing is that you describe your dad as having a happy and fortunate life and that is a precious thing. Certainly, having you there for him at the end is a lovely gift.

    I am working on a leguminous recipe for you and will blog it up soon.

  7. Bellini Valli says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Rachel and having loving, caring family has made life all the more worth while living it to its fullest. Also I will look forward to the roundup!!

  8. Peter M, thanks, that’s good advice.

    Bijoux, I appreciate your kind thoughts. Liquid hickory smoke sounds like a good way for vegetarians to boost the flavor of pea soup.

    Thank you, Peter G.

    Maria, as you know the writing and telling about it has come slowly. But it’s now time.

    Susan, I’ve been entertaining myself with my beany round-up-to-be!

    Rachel, thank you! My dad’s 88th birthday is actually on Saturday. I’m hoping we get to have the party we’re planning! Can’t wait to see your post.

    Val, you are very right!

  9. Your soup looks lovely. It’s hard however to focus on food or blogging when faced with such family matter. My thoughts are with you.

  10. Hi Laurie…know that I’m thinking about you and your father. I can imagine that it’s not easy for you and your family. I’m sure that he loves having you near.

    Split pea soup is one of my favorites and it’s something that I haven’t had in a while. Thanks for the great recipe! 🙂

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