Place the peas in a sieve, rinse with water and set aside.
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil.
Saute the onions and carrots over medium heat until till soft (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, and mix.
To the pot add the rinsed peas, ham bone (or ham hock), bay leaves and water.
Stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a nice simmer, and let the soup cook until the peas are VERY soft. This can take about 2 hours or so.
**NOTE** During the initial cooking, a FOAM will appear on the water. I usually scoop it off, but you can skip this if you like.
Once the soup is cooked to your liking, remove the ham bone from the soup and place in a dish.
***NOTE*** At this point, if you would like the soup to thicken more, increase the heat slightly, and cook uncovered for about an hour. This will allow some liquid to reduce.
During this time, pull the meat off the bone and shred. Return to pot. The size of the bone will determine the amount of meat you will be able to get.
The calories for the MEAT are NOT CALCULATED in the nutrition, as the amount of meat will vary with each ham hock or ham bone.For this recipe, I used a FRESH ham hock. I removed the outer skin and extra fat before placing it in the pot.
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