November 30, 2011

Split Pea and Ham Soup

We had a ham for dinner the other night with plenty of it left over.  It was a very chilly autumn night and I decided to use the remaining ham in some split pea soup.  I started with Emeril Lagassee's recipe and made some changes to it.  Fearful that my daughter would judge the taste of it by the look of it, my husband and I decided to tell her it was "Shrek soup".  She tried it and loved it.  I then told her what it really was and she loved it even more, knowing that it had her beloved peas in it.  My husband said it was delicious and I am extremely pleased how it turned out.  This definitely is a great recipe and I will not change a thing about it next time.  I served this with grilled cheese sandwiches.

  • 1 lb split peas
  • 1 ham hock (or leftover ham bones)
  • Water, enough to cover the ham hock
  • 3 tbsp butter 
  • 1 c carrots, diced 
  • 1 c onion, diced 
  • 1/2 c celery, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 lb cooked ham, cubed (I used leftovers)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme 
  • 1 tbsp salt, or to taste 
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  • 2-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut bite size (my husband likes lot of potatoes in his, so I did 4)

Pour the split peas in a large pot.  Cover with water by a couple inches.  Allow the peas to soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight.  Thoroughly rinse and drain the peas, set aside.  

In another large pot, add the ham hock and completely cover with water, approximately 10 cups.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer for 1 hour.  Skim the surface of the broth as it cooks.  Remove the ham hock, set aside.  Reserve 8 cups of the hock broth.  You can either discard the ham hock or, when it cools, remove the skin, cut off the meat and dice the meat; set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots, onion and celery.  Cook until they begin to soften, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and peas and cook for 1 minute longer.

Pour the mirepoix (carrot, celery and onion) and pea mixture into the reserved hock broth.  Add the bay leaf.  Season with thyme, salt and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 3 hours, or until the soup is to your desired thickness.  Stir in the potatoes and cook for an additional 20 minutes.  Stir in the optional hock meat and 1/2 lb cooked ham.  Remove the bay leaf before serving.  For a thicker consistency, simply simmer the soup longer.  For a thinner consistency, stir in additional broth or water.  Taste the soup and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Serve with crusty bread, cornbread or grilled cheese.


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