Fresh Pea Soup with Ham Hock and Croutons

Serves 4-6


1 loaf ciabatta bread
Olive oil
2 ham hocks, raw or smoked
1 large Spanish onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 leek, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups white wine
1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, parsley, Grains of Paradise, or black pepper)
2 quarts stock, vegetable or chicken
2 cups fresh peas


Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the ciabatta into 1″ squares. Toss with olive oil and salt onto a baking sheet and place into oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

In a 1 gallon stock pot, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Bring to a medium-high heat and sear the ham hocks until golden brown. If the ham hocks are smoked, you can just go to the next step and add the hocks later. Add to the stock pot the onion and sweat for about a minute. Then add in the celery and sweat for another minute. Now add in your leeks and garlic and sweat again for another minute or two. Try to do this without getting any color on the vegetables. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the white wine and reduce heat to a medium flame. Reduce wine for about 3 minutes. If using smoked ham hocks, add them now as well as the bouquet garni and stock. Bring stock to a simmer and let cook for about 45-60 minutes. Add in the fresh peas during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking or until soft and remove ham hock. Using an immersion blender, purée soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and serve with croutons. Use extra parsley for garnish.