“Potage Saint Germain is a classic French soup using pureed split green peas as a base. It is cooked with pork belly, carrot, onions and leeks. These simple ingredients still manage to impress. This soup is a French culinary school classic named after the Count of Saint Germain, minister of war under Louis XIV, who had a penchant for both fresh peas and split peas and would always request a soup that featured both. This recipe evolved to take on his namesake. Today, the culinary appellation ‘À la Saint-Germain’ refers to a recipe made with pureed split peas and a garnish made with peas.”
Potage Saint Germain
The smoked bacon and ham hock can be found in the butcher department at Whole Foods.
- 1/2 pound smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup leeks, white and light green parts only (slice down the middle, rinse in between all the layers, slice down the middle of each half and slice thinly, removing the dark green parts)
- 1/2 cup onion, cut small
- 1/2 cup celery, cut small
- 1 cup carrots, cut small
- 2 cups dried split peas
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt (check after soup is done)
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pepper (check after the soup is done)
- 1 bay leaf
Brown the bacon in a 4 quart pot. Add the leeks, onion, celery and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Place the peas in a sieve and rinse under running water and add them to the pot along with the ham hock, water, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, turn heat down and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the peas are tender. Remove the bay leaf and ham hock and discard. (I don’t cut the meat off the ham hock.) Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Shown garnished with sour cream, thawed frozen peas and a sprinkle of pepper.