Split Pea & Ham Soup

Split pea soup – excellent and easy, but takes some time.

Day 1: have a lovely dinner of spiral cut ham, sweet potatoes and green beans.

Day 2: make the ham broth

Day 3: make the split pea soup

Ingredients

1 spiral cut ham

2 lbs split peas rinsed

8 quarts water

8 diced carrots

6-8 diced celery stalks

1 large onion diced (or 2 small ones)

4 garlic cloves minced

2 Tablespoons parsley

½ tsp black pepper (or to taste)

After your lovely dinner of spiral cut ham you always have leftovers.  Well, take off the good stuff that is cut nicely and you will be left with the top of the spiral cut ham where the meat really isn’t spiral cut at all and the bone attached, that is what goes into the huge soup pot with 8 (to 10) quarts of water.  Choose the amount of water depending on how runny or thick you like your soup.  It will thicken up on day 2!

1.     Simmer the ham bones and meat attached to them in 8-10 quarts of water for a day to make the broth.

2.     Run the broth through a strainer, cool on the counter and refrigerate so the fat rises to the top and “hardens”

3.     Pick the meat off the cooled bones, remove the fat (this should be really easy if you cooked it long enough) and dice the meat into bite sized pieces (then refrigerate till needed the next day.)

4.     The next day use a slotted spoon to remove the fat from the top of the broth.  This will look very congealed.

5.     Heat the broth till boiling and add the 2 lbs of rinsed split peas, then turn to low to simmer.

6.     Simmer the peas and parsley until peas are soft.  I like to simmer until they completely fall apart and turn into mush!  Stir at least every 15 minutes to avoid the peas sticking and burning to the bottom of your pot (you know your pot the best).

7.     In a large fry pain, sauté in olive oil the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.

8.     Add the veggies to the pot with peas and broth.  Puree a little or all of the soup if desired (or none at all).

9.     Add the ham cubes to the soup

10. Simmer for at least 15 minutes (or longer if you like, you really can’t ruin this recipe, just burn it to the bottom of the stock pot if you don’t stir it).

11. Taste, and then add black pepper if desired.

12. This soup is always better the second day and it freezes REALLY well.