Total Calories: 600
1. In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, bring the stock or broth to a simmer. Stir in the green and yellow split peas and the ham bone or hocks. Bring back to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook over low heat for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, cut 8 of the carrots into irregular 1/3-inch-thick slices and cut the remaining 4 carrots into diagonal slices. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and place a large bowl of ice water on your counter. Add a little salt and the diagonally sliced carrots and boil until crisp-tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge them into the bowl of ice water, swishing them around with your hand until cold. Drain the slices well and set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Tear off a piece of waxed paper large enough to cover the interior of the skillet and brush some of the butter on one side. When the butter in the pan is bubbling, stir the onions, leeks, garlic, celery, and the 8 sliced carrots into the skillet, coating the vegetables well with butter. Add the thyme and oregano and place the buttered side of the waxed paper directly on top of the vegetables. Sweat the vegetables over very low heat, occasionally lifting the waxed paper to stir and redistribute them, for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. After the split peas have simmered for 1 hour, add the sweated vegetables to the stockpot and cover the pot securely. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour more. Remove from heat. Remove the ham bone or hocks from the pot and let cool to the touch.
5. Ladle the soup in batches into a large medium-mesh wire strainer set over a large bowl. As the strainer becomes full, transfer the solids to a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Puree each batch of solids with a little of the stock until smooth, then transfer to another large bowl. You will end up with 1 large bowl of liquid and 1 large bowl of pureed vegetables.
6. Pour the vegetable puree into the empty stockpot and add enough stock to create the desired consistency. Remove any meat from the cooked ham bone or hocks and add to the soup discard the bone. Add the salt, pepper, diced ham, thawed peas, and reserved blanched carrots to the soup. Cool uncovered to allow any grease to rise to the top spoon off and discard the grease.
7. To serve, cover and reheat soup gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until piping hot. Ladle into warmed, hefty wide soup mugs or deep bowls.
VARIATION: Although the flavor of this soup will be richest when using butter, you can reduce the overall amount of saturated fat in the recipe by omitting the butter and sweating the vegetables in 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 cup additional stock or broth. Alternatively, use half butter and half olive oil.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 4 days, or freeze in airtight containers for up to 3 months.
TO REHEAT: If frozen, let thaw in the refrigerator. Bring to a simmer over low heat.
From From Our House To Yours. Compilation copyright © 2002 by Chronicle Books LLC. Foreword copyright © 2002 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright © 2002 by E.J. Armstrong. All rights reserved. First published by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, California.
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