Friday, February 18, 2011
Recipe : Split Pea and Ham Soup
So... yesterday you enjoyed a nice ham dinner. Or a smoked pork picnic shoulder roast, if you were at our house. Today, you get soup. Split pea soup is the traditional "must-make" recipe for the day after a ham dinner, isn't it? And it goes right along with the comfort food streak I've been on lately. Happy coincidence, I guess.
Now, all of the recipes I have seen for pea soup tell you to cook the ham bone in the pot along with the peas. I didn't do that. I like to sort out the ingredients and make sure there are no bits of anything in there that I don't want in there. So this is how I do it. Feel free to do it otherwise if you're a purist. ;o) Also, I've been told that using yellow peas is an Eastern thing, whereas Westerners would use green peas. Go with your preference, they cook up the same. This recipe adds some chopped veggies to the mix - they are not required, but they do add a nice flavor.
Recipe inspiration from here: http://www.chow.com/recipes/12484-yellow-split-pea-soup-with-smoked-ham-hock
Split Pea and Ham Soup
Preparation (night before):
After you've enjoyed your ham dinner, you have some prep-work to do. First, cut off the useful chunks of meat from the ham bone. Set aside and refrigerate. Place the bone and any trimmings into a large pot. Add water to cover. Add a quartered onion, if desired. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about two hours. Pour through a colander, collecting the broth in a large bowl. Refrigerate. Save the bone for a happy dog, and discard the remaining scraps.
Pour a 1-lb bag of split peas into a colander. Rinse well, then pour into a bowl, cover with water and refrigerate overnight. (If you forget this step, do it first thing in the morning - soaking all day works, too!)
To make the soup (allow about three hours):
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
3-4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices
broth from last night, plus additional chicken broth if needed to make 8 cups total
peas that have been soaking overnight
reserved ham from last night, cut into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 5 minutes (stir as needed). Add carrots and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add broth and peas. Add pepper, and add salt if desired (remembering that the broth and meat have a fair amount of salt already). Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for two hours. Add meat. Continue cooking until the meat is heated through and the soup is thick and creamy. Serve hot.
Refrigerate leftovers promptly. (Soup will be very thick after refrigerating but loosens up when re-heated.)