The cold weather is slowly descending upon Wisconsin. While there have been a few days, so far, where we have seen snow in the air, I imagine that it won’t be long before that becomes a regular occurrence. Unlike so many others, I don’t mind the winter, and except for the long drive to work, I rather look forward to the season. I don’t understand people, here in Wisconsin, that spend so much of their time griping about winter. I just want to look at them and say, “You live in Wisconsin, what do you expect? If you hate winter so much then move south!” I guess it’s because I’ve moved around so much, that if I don’t like the weather in a place then I just pack up and move on. Life’s too short to be stuck living in a place you hate half of the year. That’s part of the reason I left the South. Being a Northern boy by birth, I missed the 4 seasons, and hated the hot, humid summers.

As I was saying, before I went off on my rant, winter is just around the corner for us in the North. One of the reasons I know this is the fact that my wife is in soup making mode. Much of it will be destined for the freezer, packaged into small individual portions that she can take to work with her. Her latest soup was a wonderful Split Pea with Ham.

Split Pea soup gets a bad rap, mostly thanks to the movie “The Exorcist.” That’s too bad as Split Pea soup is a hearty, soul warming dish, full of flavor. The perfect remedy to ward off the chills and a great way to warm up after a chilly afternoon raking leaves. The other great thing about Split Peas soup is that it is so easy to make.

Split Pea Soup with Ham

1 each Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 each Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 pound Dried Split Peas
4 each Ham Hocks

In a large sauce pot melt butter over medium high heat. Add the carrots and onion. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are just starting to brown. Add the split peas and ham hocks then add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the peas are soft and tender, adding more water if necessary to keep the peas just submerged. Remove the ham hocks and allow to cool. Puree the soup in a blender or better yet with an immersion blender (so much easier!). Thin with a little water if too thick for your liking. Season with salt and pepper and return to the stove, over low heat. Remove the rind (skin) from the hocks and cut away all the meat from the bone. Dice into bite sized pieces and return to the soup. To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with either more finely diced ham or croutons (small cubes of bread sauteed in garlic butter until golden and crispy).