Thursday, July 1, 2010
Potaje de Chicarros: Split Pea Stew
Having been married to an American for so long now, my potaje de chicarros is starting to resemble Split Pea and Ham ... sort of. This stew calls for ham hocks and Spanish chorizo, neither of which my husband will eat. I still put in the smoked ham hocks, and I replace the chorizo with ham. Here we go:
1 lb dry split peas (2 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
1 ham hock
2 cups diced ham
1 large carrot, sliced
1 large potato, cubed
10-12 cups broth or water
salt and pepper to taste
Split peas do not have to be soaked overnight. Go ahead and bring your water/broth to a boil with the split peas and the ham hock and a splash of olive oil. Cover and continue cooking on medium low for 1-2 hours until the peas are tender (check your liquid, you may need to add water as it evaporates). Add your carrots and potatoes to the pot. Sautee your onions and garlic and ham in a bit of olive oil and add it to your pot. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. Remove the ham hock and pick out the pieces of ham, tossing out the bone and the fat. You can put the pieces you pulled back into the pot or you can reward yourself for your hard work and eat these pieces as a little appetizer while you stand by the hot stove.
This dish is supposed to be thick like a stew so if it's too watery uncover your pot and let it reduce, but nothing is written in stone, so if you prefer it soupy and it's too thick, add water. My daughter likes it pureed.
Cubans will add a dollop of white rice (of course) to their bowl of potaje. If you prefer, serve with bread or crackers. This is a hearty meal that requires no other side dish.
Note: This dish can absolutely be prepared vegetarian by deleting the ham, just adjust the salt.