Split Pea Soup with Ham
This is probably going to be my last big pot of soup until fall comes and it's a really great, simple soup to end the soup season with. Split pea soup is kind of like the Toyota Carolla of soups. Not super exiting, not the sexiest but dependable, well made and always delicious and it gets great mileage in the city.
After I made the ham for Easter , I was left with this big, beautiful ham bone and nobody in their right mind can throw out a delicious ham bone. Basically, it was either going to be black bean soup or split pea soup and since I have been all about the indian lentils lately, split peas won out this time. I spent a few minutes thinking of all the things I could add and do to make it new and exiting but, in the end, I made a straight up, old fashioned split pea soup. The only thing I did that differed from the split soup I would have eaten growing up was to use half green split peas and half yellow and it was perfect. I really like yellow split peas and I will do this from now on
Sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel.
Split Pea Soup
glug of olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ham bone with lots of ham still on it
1 cup green split peas
1 cup yellow split peas
2 bay leaves
2 900 ml boxes low sodium chicken stock
1 cup water
heat the olive oil over med heat and sauté the celery, carrot, onion and garlic for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and don't let it burn but it will start to take on some colour and caramelize if you let it cook down that long and that will give the soup more flavour.
Add the split peas and the ham bone, the thyme and the bay leaves and then cover with stock and keep adding water until the ham bone is submerged. Bring the soup to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium low and let it cook at a low simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The split peas should be soft and the meat will be falling off the bone of the ham. If the soup seems too thick at, say, the halfway point, you can add a bit more water. I don't like my soup to be crazy thick so I keep an eye on it.
At that point, remove the bay leaves and the ham bone and let it cool enough that you can use your fingers to pull of all of the meat. Discard all of the fat you find and shred the meat and add it back into the soup but if you want a smoother texture, first take out about half of the soup and puree it and then add it back to the pot. THEN add the meat back in. I didn't puree it because it was smooth enough for me and I like it that way but that is your choice.