Split Pea + Ham Soup

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Perfect for winter.  Make this on a cold day and you'll realize the merits of super chilly weather.  I used yellow and green split peas, but using only green will give you the color you're used to seeing.  

Serves 6.

Split Pea + Ham Soup

splash oil (olive, canola, grapeseed..)

1 yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups dried split green peas

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 - 1 1/2 lbs smoked ham hocks

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried ground fennel

8 cups vegetable stock

1 idaho potato, peeled, chopped

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In a large pot, heat a splash of oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  Cook 5 minutes until vegetables are glossy and onions are clear.  Add peas, thyme, ham hocks, cumin and fennel.  Cook 1 minute more.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes.  Add potatoes.  Cook 30 minutes more.  Remove ham hocks from soup, cut meat off and chop.  Stick immersion blender into soup and blend for a couple seconds or place 2 cups of soup into a blender and blend.  Return blended soup to pot.  Soup will now be thicker.  Add meat back to the soup discarding bones, fat and whatever.  

 

Ham + Gruyere French Toast

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I really want to brag about these, but I won't.  Brioche is first choice bead for this but challah would work too.  (I did my shopping late, couldn't find brioche anywhere and didn't want to search anymore, so I ended up making a giant loaf using Mark Bittman's recipe from his book, How To Cook Everything.)  Serve with a bit of maple syrup.  Makes about 5 servings.  

Ham + Cheese French Toast

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 loaf of brioche bread

about 5 oz ham, sliced

about 3 oz gruyere cheese, grated

1 tablespoon butter

In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and milk together to combine.  set aside.

Slice bread in slices almost 1 inch thick.  Carefully slice these slices in half, leaving on edge un-sliced.  (like a book)  Fill each one with a sprinkle of cheese, then 1 slice of ham and then a pinch more cheese.  (so there's cheese on both sides of the ham.)

Heat skillet on medium high heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter.  Dip each ham stuffed slice in egg mix and flip to coat other side.  Transfer to hot skillet and cook each side about 3 minutes.  Work in batches, using the other 1/2 tablespoon of butter, if needed.