- 3 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced and diced (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup small diced leeks, white and light green parts only, (about 2)
- 1 pound sunchokes, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup seeded and diced roasted pasilla pepper
- 1/2 cup peeled and small diced yellow onion (about 1/2 onion)
- 1 cup peeled and diced carrots, (about 2 large)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound smoked ham hocks
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 pound dried split peas
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Goat Cheese Croutons, recipe follows
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, saute the pancetta until just starting to brown. Remove from the pot, and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the leeks, sunchokes, pasilla pepper, onion and carrots. Let cook for 5 to 6 minutes, then add in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Make a well in the middle of the veggies, add the olive oil, and cook for 1 minute, then add the ham hocks. Cook the ham hocks, turning every 2 minutes, until all sides are warm and starting to lightly brown. Add the chicken stock and the peas. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in freshly cracked pepper, to taste, and remove the ham hocks from the pot to a cutting board. Let them cool for a few minutes and with a fork, shred the meat and add to the soup. Stir in the heavy cream and the vinegar. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve with the goat cheese croutons. Sprinkle with rendered pancetta and a crack of black pepper and serve.
Goat Cheese Croutons:
- 6 ounces goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Combine all the ingredients, except the panko, in a small bowl.
Form into a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm. While in freezer, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the cheese from the freezer and slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Flatten each slice with your palm or hand, and press into the panko crumbs. Arrange on a silicone baking mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, then turn over and continue to bake for 6 to 8 minutes more. Cool and store in airtight container in the refrigerator.