Eating Seasonally: Split Pea Soup

I still need to do my second "tips & tricks" post with tips for making broth/stock, but today I'm blogging a recipe for my friend Catt. I may get around to adding a few pictures to it later, but right now it's just the directions!

I don't know what your family traditions were, but one of ours was Honey Baked Ham for the holidays, followed by split pea soup from the leftover ham bone. Something I never noticed as a child was that my dad was the one in charge of making split pea soup! He had a few things he was in charge of in the food world--namely, barbecuing--but this was one of them. I don't think he ever wrote down a recipe, but I think I absorbed most of what he did, plus added what I know about cooking generally, and came up with this recipe. I think it's seasonal because ham is such an Easter tradition that many of us have ham bones around this week.

approximately 16 oz. dried split peas
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 leftover ham bone, with some ham reserved & chopped
water to cover bone (approximately 10 cups?)

1. Put peas in large bowl, looking through to pick out any stones, and cover with water to soak. I think my dad always soaked them overnight, but I noticed that some recipes don't soak them at all, so I split it down the middle & soaked for maybe 4 hours. Drain & rinse the peas.
2. Heat oil in large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium. Add onion, carrots, & celery. Season LIGHTLY with salt (note: most ham is quite salty, so go easy on seasoning the soup!) and cook, stirring regularly, until vegetables are tender--about 5-8 minutes.
3. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.
4. Add bay leaves, ham bone, and soaked peas. Add enough water to cover the ham bone (in my pot that was about 10 cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
5. Simmer for approximately 6 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Exact cooking time isn't vital, but you want to cook it until the peas "burst" and begin to emulsify with the liquid, making a soup with nice, thick consistency.
6. Remove the ham bone and bay leaves. If the soup's consistency is uneven, you can blend it (I'm not sure that my dad ever did that, but I usually do) with an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender, but do it in small batches and BE CAREFUL--blending hot liquids can be a dangerous thing!
7. Stir in reserved chopped ham. Season to taste with salt & pepper, and serve with a nice piece of crusty bread!

That's it--slow cooking, but simple and oh so tasty. Yesterday we took a walk while the soup was cooking, & I smelled a lot of my neighbours grilling burgers. It smelled delicious, and I was regretting my choice of soup for dinner--until we got home & I dished the soup up. All regret was gone--that was one delicious bowl of totally amazing flavour! And lots of leftovers to get through the week, too. (However, I do think we'll be barbecuing tonight--I took some steak out of the freezer yesterday!)


Jane Sr. said…
Guess what I'm making tomorrow??