Friday, February 10, 2012

Split Pea Soup with Ham

After days of being spoiled by mild temperatures we finally had cold weather with some snow showers.  Dreary weather always makes me crave soup so I pulled out the soup pot to make a comforting one pot meal to warm us up.  I decided to make split pea soup because I had baked a honey baked ham over the weekend and it would be a great way to use up the ham bone and some of the leftover ham.  The first time I made this soup for my family I called it "swamp soup" and my kids were thrilled to dig in because the thought of eating something "gross" seemed so fun and intriguing to them.  Ah.. the joy of being a child.   They never questioned me what made the soup so swampy green (the of peas and vegetables) and I was thrilled to see them ask for seconds helpings.  Although it doesn't look like the most "appetizing of soups", it doesn't taste anything like a swamp... thank goodness.  My recipe makes a large pot of soup so you can have soup for a few days or freeze the leftovers for another day.

3 stalks celery diced
3 large carrots diced
1 onion diced
2Tbs of canola oil
1Tbs of dried thyme
1Tbs of dried parsley
1 bay leaf
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
1lb bag of dried green split peas
4 cups of chicken stock
7 cups of water
1lb of diced lean ham
black pepper to taste
red chili flakes to taste
salt to taste

Heat oil in the soup pot and add your diced carrots, celery and onions to saute for a few minutes. Then add thyme, parsley, bay leaf, garlic, black pepper and red chili flakes. Do not add salt yet (see notes).
Notes:There are coupling reasons not to add salt:
1. If you are using the ham bone it will give off a lot of salt while cooking.
2. Too much salt now will slow down the dried peas from cooking.

If you have a ham bone, this is a great time to use it. If you do not have a ham bone you can skip this step.  Add dried peas. Rinsed the peas with water and pick through them to make sure there are no stones.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock (or water/bullion equivalent) and 7 cups of water to the pot.  Simmer all the ingredients on medium high heat for about 30-45 minutes with a tight fitting lid. You will know when your soup is getting done because the peas will break down and the soup will get very thick and creamy.

Once the soup looks ready remove the ham bone and the bay leaf.  Puree the soup with an immersion blender or use a regular blender and do it in batches.


Now add your dice.  If you had a ham bone, remove all the ham off the bone and dice for the soup as well. Add the ham into the pureed soup. Do not add the ham before you puree the soup or you will puree the ham too.  Soups on!! Enjoy.

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