jacques pepin's split pea soup with cracklings

6 oz chicken skin
cut into 1-inch pieces or could replace with ham
2 whole onions
medium, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic
crushed and coarsely chopped
8 cups water or broth
or just enough to cover soup ingredients
2 tsp herbes de Provence
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
freshly ground
1/4 tsp tabasco
plus more for serving
1 lb split peas
dried, picked over and rinsed
  • large cast-iron pot
We were drawn to this recipe for several reasons.
* We like split pea soup.
* It makes use of leftover chicken skin.
* Split peas are inexpensive.
* It makes a big pot that can stretch over several meals or feed a party.
* Leftovers freeze well.
* It’s a Jaques Pepin recipe!

We were pleased with the result and would definitely make it again the next time we have unused chicken skin. The crisped chicken skin kind of tastes like chicharon (deep-fried pork rind) in this dish. Adapted from Jacques Pepin's Essential Pepin.
If using chicken skin, saute it on high heat in the cast iron soup pot for about 8-10 minutes to render fat and crisp skin.
Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes, then add garlic and stir.
If using ham, stir in at this point until heated through.
Follow with remaining ingredients - water, herbes de Provence, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and split peas. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour. Stir every 20 minutes or so.
Add water to thin if needed. Serve in bowls with extra Tabasco on the side.
source: Jacques Pepin's Essential Pepin