The day before you plan to serve this soup, sear the hock in a heavy bottom stock pot on all sides and submerge in the pot with the 8-10 cups of stock or water. Then, cover the pot so you don’t evaporate the liquid during cooking. Simmer the hock on the stovetop until it is tender, about 2 hours. Chicken stock is ideal, but feel free to use vegetable stock or water. The hock will impart tons of flavor, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have chicken stock handy (although this is totally unacceptable if you are a Larder Club member:).
When the hock is tender, remove it from the liquid and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle. Who you’re able, pick the meat off of the bone.
Pour the stock into a container large enough to hold the liquid with plenty of headroom, and add the picked meat.
Place the container with the hock and the hock fortified stock in your refrigerator, uncovered, to chill overnight.
If you haven't already, mince your vegetables and refrigerate in an airtight container for tomorrow. Your “mis en place” is ready for tomorrow Chef!
The following day, remove the fat on the surface of the stock.
In the same heavy bottom stock pot from yesterday, heat the vegetable oil until it is very hot and sear your mushrooms on each side until they are caramelized. If you have a ton of patience and you’re super OCD with cooking like your friends at The Larder Meat Co. Center for Research and Development, lightly coat the mushroom quarters in olive oil and grill them over charcoal embers for best results. After your mushrooms are caramelized/grilled, slice them in smaller pieces about 1/16-1/8 of an inch thick and set them aside. You will add these to the soup last.
In the stock pot, sauté the diced vegetables. When you smell the garlic begin to give off it’s aroma, add the fortified ham hock stock with the picked hock mea (add the soup sachet too if you have one).
Add the split peas/split favas and bring to a simmer.
Simmer the soup until the peas/favas are falling apart tender. This will take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
When the peas/favas are tender, add the caramelized mushrooms and season with the salt to your liking. Don’t skimp here, this soup can handle a good amount of salt so check the seasoning a few times until you really pull out the flavor of the ham.
Enjoy this soup on the last cold evening of Spring with a thick slice of grilled bread.