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Paul Schmoller is a tester in the Casting Networks Quality Assurance department. He has been with the company for six months.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul moved down to sunny Los Angeles to attend college and pursue his love of sailing. He has an eclectic taste in music that spans all genres and enjoys jammin’ out to classic rock and composing orchestral trance with hip-hop styles.


The smoked ham hock is the star of this soup. The soup itself is simply a hearty vessel by which the smoky, salty, succulent pork is delivered. While a nice piece of ham can be substituted, I cannot, in good faith, recommend it. If you can’t find a good ham hock (I get mine from a small German deli) and decide to use a piece of ham, use a thick slice and chop it before adding it to the soup.

-2 tbsp butter
-1/2 onion, diced
-2 ribs celery, diced
-2 carrots, sliced
-3 cloves garlic, sliced (not too thin)
-1 smoked ham hock
-1 lb split peas (make sure any small rocks have been removed)
-1 quart chicken stock
-2 1/2 cups water
-1 bay leaf
-salt and pepper to taste

1. Sweat onion, celery, carrots, and garlic with butter and a pinch of salt in a large soup pot on medium-low heat until soft (don’t brown)
2. Add whole ham hock, bay leaf, and pepper (about 1 tsp, but this is really up to you) and continue to cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes
3. Add raw split peas
4. Add chicken stock and water
5. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1hr
6. Remove ham hock from soup and place on cutting board. Remove and discard any skin and excess fat
7. Remove meat from bone and chop into chunks (size of chunks is up to you, but I prefer large chunks)
8. Add ham chunks back into soup
9. Continue to simmer until peas are cooked and mostly broken down (about a half hour)
10. Remove bay leaf and add salt and pepper to taste (ham hocks differ in saltiness so, again, this is up to you)

Eat the soup and savor the hammy goodness. It’s especially good with whole wheat toast.