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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 8, 2006

A pea soup with no ham hocks

By Carol Devenot

My mom used to make the best split-pea soup. She would buy ham hocks and the rest of the ingredients and cook it all afternoon. It was so delicious. I always thought her recipe was the only way to cook pea soup until I ran across a recipe using herbes de Provence.

Provence is in southeastern France, next to Italy. The food of this region is influenced by its warm climate, coastal location and other neighboring countries. Olive oil plays a greater role in this region than butter, and the cuisine relies on fresh vegetables, herbs and seafood.

Herbes de Provence is a mixture of aromatic plants.

These herbs, either fresh or dried, are grown in the region. Typically, the mixture contains rosemary, marjoram, basil, savory and thyme. Lavender flowers are sometimes added. I found a bottle at Safeway for $6.79. You can use this for seasoning grilled fish, meat and vegetable stews.

It may seem a little steep, but remember: With this recipe, you don't need ham.


  • Extra-virgin olive spray oil

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 2 cups Maui or other sweet onions, coarsely chopped

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons herbes de Provence (contains chervil, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, thyme and parsley)

  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • 2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced

  • 2 large celery stalks, sliced

  • 6-7 cups of boiling water

  • 16 ounces dried green split peas

  • 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced

  • Sea salt to taste

  • White pepper to taste

    Spray a large dutch oven generously with olive oil. Saute garlic and onions until transparent. Stir in herbes de Provence, fennel and bay leaf. Add carrots, celery, split peas and boiling water. Bring to boil and simmer covered until split peas are tender (about 2 1/2-3 hours). Remove bay leaf and stir well as you add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

    Serves 4-6.

    Want a local recipe lightened up? Write Light & Local Taste Section, The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; or taste@honoluluadvertiser.com. Carol Devenot is a Kaimuki-raised kama'aina, teacher and recipe consultant, and author of "Island Light Cuisine" (Blue Sea Publishing, paper, 2003). Learn more at www.islandlightcuisine.com.

    Reach Carol Devenot at taste@honoluluadvertiser.com.