In a large heavy pot, brown the ham hock in the oil over medium high heat, turning occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Stir the onions, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the carrots, celery, stock, and split peas and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the split peas are very soft and falling apart, about 1 1/2 hours. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
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