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Winter Comfort

(post, Kathleen Bauer)

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The last thing I want to be doing on a cold winter's night is making a complicated dinner. I want simple, comforting, filling food that warm the cockles of the hearts around my table.

So you'll find me stirring a big ol' pot of split pea soup with a giant ham hock slowly melting into it. A glass of wine, a nice loaf of Como for sopping and we're set.

Winter's Night Split Pea Soup

2 Tbsp. neutral oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped fine
8 c. chicken stock
1 celery root, chopped in 1/4" dice (or 3 ribs celery, chopped fine)
2 c. split peas
1 tsp. tarragon, dried
1 large smoked ham hock
Salt and pepper to taste
Water to thin, if necessary

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil until it shimmers, then add onion, garlic and carrots and sauté till tender. Add chicken stock, celery root, split peas, ham hock and spices and bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer till ham hock falls off the bone (2-3 hrs.). Remove ham hock from soup and shred on plate. Using immersion blender or working in batches with upright blender, blend soup till smooth. Put shredded ham back in soup, thin with water if necessary and return to simmer. Serve.