Chef Michael Smith, one of Canada’s best-known chefs is a passionate advocate for simple, sustainable home cooking and an inspiration for families creating their own healthy food lifestyle. He’s the host of Chef Michaels Kitchen, Chef Abroad, Chef at Home and Chef at Large seen on Food Network Canada and in more than 100 other countries. He can also be seen as a judge on Chopped Canada this winter.
Michael is Prince Edward Island’s food ambassador, an award winning cookbook author, newspaper columnist, professional chef and home cook. He led the team of chefs that cooked for the worlds Olympians in the Whistler Athletes Village in 2010. His seventh cookbook, Back to Basics, is on stands now and a smash hit across Canada. His food media production company is breaking new ground online and his Twitter feed is Canada’s top choice for foodie fun.
Although Michael is a true chef at large his favorite role is Dad, home on Prince Edward Island with his partner Chastity, Gabe, Ariella and Camille! Michael is an avid map collector, long-time windsurfer and novice kite sailor.
Recipes are an excellent way to get started in the kitchen because your goal is not to cook a dish exactly the way I would but instead to interpret my words in the way that works best for you. Feel free to make changes and substitutions, use more of a favorite ingredient or less of another, try new ideas and stir in your own personality. Ultimately the best way to impress your self in your own kitchen is to learn the basics then stir in your own twists!
Pig & Pea Soup
For the Stock
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 12 cups of water
- 2 bay leaves
For the Soup
- 8 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped
- 8 cups of stock
- 1- 1 pound bag of dried green peas
- 2 onions, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 cup of frozen green peas
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite vinegar
|For the Stock:
|Add the ham hock, water and bay leaves to a large stockpot over medium heat. Bring the works to a simmer, cover and cook until the ham hock is tender enough to remove the bone, about 2 hours. Strain, reserving the ham hock meat and the stock but discarding the bone.
|For the Soup:
|Place your favourite large saucepan over medium high heat. Toss in the bacon then pour in a splash of water. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.
|As the water simmers the bacon will begin to cook. Then as the water evaporates the bacon will render, releasing its fat. Lastly it will crisp as the fat left behind heats past the boiling point of water into the flavour zone.
|Keep an eye on the pans heat, adjusting as needed, keeping the bacon sizzling but not burning. When the bacon is evenly cooked and crisp, remove it and set aside.
|Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pan and sauté just to heat through, 3 to 4 minutes.
|Add the dried peas, thyme, reserved stock and ham hock. Cover and simmer the works until the peas are tender, about an hour.
|Stir in the frozen peas, the vinegar and the reserved bacon. Serve and share.