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Old Fashioned Split Pea Soup


After I make ham for Easter I am always left with this big, meaty bone and a meaty bone means soup. It's always a toss up between black bean soup or split pea soup because we all love them equally. What with the lentil contest last month, I have been all about the lentils lately so split peas won out this time and I ended up making a straight up, old fashioned split pea soup. 

My grandmother made an insanely good pea soup and my mom said that growing up in her very Catholic household, they ate pea soup and fish every Friday. I didn't have the heart to tell her that pea soup that includes a big old hambone does NOT qualify as meatless but then I realized that vegetarian back then only meant that you didn't plunk an actual hunk of meat on the dinner table. If you only used meat in the broth, you were good to go for Friday so meaty soup and fish was the go to meatless meal in most French Canadian homes. 

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 I do prefer it that way. Sometimes you don't need to reinvent the wheel.

Split Pea Soup



Ingredients

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
fresh thyme
2 litres chicken stock
3/4 to 1 cup  water


Instructions

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 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.

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