For those not in the know, Canada is a bilingual country where our two official languages are French and English. Most of the Francophones live in the province of Quebec and some families can trace their roots to the first settlers in North America.
English and French Canadians are similar yet different. I won’t get into Canadian politics but French-Canadians are a unique bunch. Did you know that advertisers have to devise totally separate campaigns for Quebecers? They do have varying tastes: prefer Pepsi to Coke, a strange love of corn dogs, a sweet spot for rich snack cakes (Mae west) and they like to spread pork fat (Creton) on toast.
Beyond some of their quirky eating habits, the Quebecois also have a rich history of loving food and of having a wonderfully delicious local cuisine.
At first, you wonder if this dish will amount to anything good but allow the simmering of the ham to extract all it’s flavour. This is one of my favourite soups for it’s ease in preparation, high taste factor and very comforting.
French-Canadian Pea Soup
1 smoked ham hock
one 16oz. package of yellow split peas
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
7 cups of water
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
- In a large pot, add the water, ham hock, split peas, allspice, onions, carrots, peppercorns and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook on medium-low heat for approx. an hour.
- Remove the ham hock and bay leaf from the soup. Adjust seasoning of the soup with salt and pepper. Using your hand blender, puree the soup to the consistency of your choice (I left some peas in tact).
- Using a fork and knife, scrap the meat off the bone and flake the meat into bite sized pieces. Add your ham meat back into the soup, stir in and serve hot.
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