Rick’s Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hock

Bowl

I like to make this when the weather gets cold. It’s cheap eats, but good! The ham hocks come in packages of three or four (also sold as “smoked pork hocks.”) The trick is to put them in individual freezer bags and freeze them, so you always have them on hand. You can defrost them in the microwave. This is an easy and delicious soup.

Ingredients

1 lb. bag dried green split peas, rinsed

1 TBS olive oil

1 smoked ham hock, about a pound

1 yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

8 cups chicken stock

½ tsp dried thyme leaves

 

Recipe

In a cast iron Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium high heat and brown the ham hock on all sides for about five minutes (I use tongs.). Remove the ham hock to a plate. Put the onion and garlic in the pot and sauté for about five minutes. Don’t burn them. Add the carrots, and stir for a minute or two. Then add the chicken stock, half of the split peas and the thyme. Return the ham hock to the pot. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer, partially cover, and let it get happy for about an hour.

Skim the foam off the top. Remove the ham hock to a plate. If you have an immersible blender this is where it shines. Purée the soup until it is nearly smooth. You can also do this in the blender. Add the remaining split peas and return the ham hock. Simmer for about an hour or until the split peas are tender. I take the ham hock out about ten minutes before the soup is done to let it cool. I cut it up into small pieces, discarding the fatty pieces. Put the ham hock pieces back in the soup for a few minutes to reheat. Serve soup with crusty bread, oyster crackers, or croutons. Enjoy!

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(Photos by R.L. Floyd, 2022)

Reflections on the Legacy of the Westminster Confession of Faith

(I delivered this paper on October 20, 2022 for a Webinar: Westminster Confession at 375: Historical Reflections and Contemporary Relevance. In commemoration of this important anniversary, the Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, and Dr Williams’s Library, London, brought scholars and theologians together to talk about the significance of the Westminster Confession: past, present, and future.) Continue reading

 “Building Bigger Barns” A Sermon on Luke 12:13-21

barn

“Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” —Luke 12:13-21 NRSV Continue reading

Rick’s Summer Spaghetti with Uncooked Tomato Basil Sauce

Pasta 3We’ve been cooking variations on this recipe on hot summer days for decades. The original “Silver Palate Cookbook“ had a version that called for Brie, but  we felt that was too rich for a hot summer dinner.

We only make this in late summer when the good local tomatoes come in, and we have fresh herbs in pots ready to go. You do have to cook the pasta, but the rest is uncooked. I combine all the other ingredients in a pasta bowl earlier in the day and let them get happy. Continue reading

Rick’s “Fathers’ Day” Mixed Grill

Mixed grillWhen we were on holiday in Burwash, East Sussex, way back in 1993, it was our June 12 anniversary, and we were looking for fine dining to celebrate.  We had Auntie Freya with us to watch the kiddos, so we had high hopes, and we had scouted out what appeared to be the only restaurant in town that wasn’t one of the three pubs. Sadly, when we went to make a reservation, it was closed, night off, bank holiday or whatever.

Not to be deterred we turned to the usually reliable English pub for a back-up. The high street in Burwash isn’t very long, and was then anchored by a pub at either end and one in the middle. The one in the middle seemed busy so we went there.  It had “Mixed Grill” on the menu. Continue reading