SPLIT PEA SOUP
Christmas has come and gone. It was wonderful but I am glad it’s over. As usual, I’m exhausted. I loved having all the kids home. I loved making delicious food. I loved the happiness we all shared for several days. I loved visiting family and loved even more, returning home. I never thought we would eat every morsel created in my kitchen. But.we.did. All I have left is a ham bone. This ham bone will continue to give us nourishment in the form of split pea soup. Don’t scrunch your nose in disgust. Split pea soup is delicious and nutritious. The split peas are high in fiber, iron, protein and some calcium too. Add in the onions, celery, carrots, some cut ham and you have another meal in a bowl. Do yourself a favor and have some real split pea soup. Order it at a good restaurant, but please don’t eat the canned version. I love to throw in a handful of oyster crackers in mine. Perfect for a cold winter’s night. Try it some time!
8 cups of cold water
1 large ham bone (fat and skin removed but leave some ham on it)
2 cups green dried split peas (one bag)
2 large carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 large onions, rough chopped
2 large celery ribs, rough chopped
2 dried bay leaves
2 beef bouillon cubes OR 1 tbsp. of beef base
1 tsp. salt
5 whole black peppercorns
In a large stockpot, add the rinsed peas and cold water. Bring the peas to a boil. Once they come to a boil, take them off the burner and cover the pot. Let the peas and water sit for 1 hour.
Return the pot to the stove and add the ham bone, carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf, beef bouillon, salt, and peppercorns. If you don’t have a ham bone, smoke ham hocks can be used. My grocery does sell them sometimes. Put the lid on and bring the pot back to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. I let the soup cook for about 1.5 hours. Stir the soup occasionally.
I let the soup cool for about a half hour of the hot burner. The next step is putting the soup through a food mill. You don’t want to pour boiling hot soup in the food mill and risk splashing yourself. Before you put the hot soup through the food mill, take out the ham bone, brushing off any split peas. Once the bone cools, pick off any bits of ham that you can. I like to ladle the soup in the food mill that is placed over a bowl. I press everything but the ham bone. If you don’t have a food mill, you could probably use a blender, food processor or an immersion blender. I like my soup smooth, but you could absolutely leave yours chunky. You could take out some of the celery, onions and carrots and then blend the soup so it’s still chunky. When it cools in the fridge it will become very thick. This soup is great to transport to work for lunch, as it won’t thin out until you heat it up. You can add some water when you are reheating, if the soup is too thick for your liking. Take some time this winter and make some soup. You will be surprised at how easy it is!