Thomas Keller’s Split Pea Soup with Ham Hock (Potage Saint-Germain)
About this recipe
The recipe produces a very velvety texture, with multiple savors that are so simple yet so delicate... I was not expecting such a delicious dish to be honest, but in the end, this is one for the books ! I intend to make this soup several times a year ! Everybody loved it, from capricious little kids, to snooty adults.
Thomas Keller takes a French classic and turns it into a top restaurant delicious meal... How many times do I need to say that I am his fan number one ???
Source of the recipe
To purchase the book online:
The recipe is on page 118
A few definitions:
● Soups, from Latin suppa, were originally a stock made of vegetables and meat, with big chunks in a flavored water. To make it more filling, ancients would add a piece of bread into it
● is a soup that has been blended and strained
● is a stock cooked with vegetables, served in a small bowl at the beginning of a meal
● is a soup, blended and strained, and thickened with corn starch or another thickener
A "Cream of"
● is a velouté with a heavy cream such as "crème fraîche"
● is a stock that has been reduced, and "cleared" (with the egg whites technique)
● is a velouté, made with fish and/or shellfish
Origin of the recipe
This soup has been eaten since antiquity. According to sources, vendors in the streets of Athens were selling hot pea soup, about 500 to 400 BC.
By contrast with the coarse, traditional peasant fare of pease pottage, Potage Saint-Germain, was an innovation sufficiently refined that it could be served to Louis Xiv of France, for whose court at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye it was named, c. 1660–1680
Modifications to the original recipe
I modified only a few things...
● I add more Ham Hock (2 lbs or 907 g)
● I do not add green peas, for I wanted to taste rather the Split Peas
● Thomas Keller suggests to add crème fraiche (sour cream), something that French do (but not me, as I am on a diet... )
1. Peel and cut the Carrots (2 Cups or 276 g), the Onions (2 Cups or 320 g) and the Leeks (2 Cups or 260 g) (only the white part)
2. Heat the Canola Oil (3 tablespoons) in a 10-quart stockpot
3. Add and cook the Carrots, the Onions and the Leeks with the Salt
4. Cover with a parchment paper lid
5. Reduce the heat so that everything simmers gently for 30 minutes
6. While it's cooking, verify the vegetables : they should be tender, but not brown !
7. Soak the Split Peas (2 Cups or 450 g) in the Chicken Stock (13 ½ Cups or 3 Liters) : Keller mentions adding the peas in cold stock will help to cook them more evenly
8. Wait at least 20 minutes
9. Pour in the Split Peas (2 Cups or 450 g) and the Chicken Stock (13 ½ Cups or 3 Liters)
10. Add in the Ham Hock (2 lbs or 907 g)
11. Keller mentions that the ham hock should be smoked : I found one, despite my fears, at a local Von's market in South Pasadena. If you can't find it smoked, a ham hock will do it !
12. Reduce the heat so that everything simmers gently, for about 1 hour
13. Remove the soup from the heat, and reserve the ham hock
14. When the meat is colder, discard the skin and fat
15. Cut the meat in chunks. If the meat is not tender enough, it needs more cooking
16. Purée the remaining liquid. Keller mentions a Vita-mix. I am using an immersion blender (sometimes called 'hand blender'). The soup will thicken
17. I transfer the meat back into the soup
Sooooo tasty !
To serve, I sprinkle Paprika and add a Mint Leaf. Keller suggest to add some crème fraiche (or sour cream) on each individual bowls, which I don't do.
This soup is even better refrigerated, then reheated and served the next day !