Another in the series of "well, I have this laying around and by the way it's cold": split pea soup.
Having been informed that maybe lentils again might be overkill and that it definitely wouldn't kill me to dial back the capsaicin for a change it was time to find a new legume to play with. Luckily, split peas were available by the pound from none other than the kitchen cabinet.
But of course there was no ham hock. So at least I got to improvise a bit:
First, a 1:1:1 mirepoix in olive oil. Nothing fancy. A bit of salt helped to draw out the liquid and speed the process and several rough-chopped garlic cloves finished it off.
In another pan, I browned half a pound of chopped bacon which quickly joined the mirepoix, grease and all. A pound of kielbasa, chopped, joined everything just before the pound of peas, 8 cups of water, 2 bay leaves, and pepper.
Forty minutes, more salt, and a generous amount of lemon juice later and the whole thing was actually better than the more traditional method. Thank goodness for spare bacon in the freezer....