Ham Bone Split Pea Soup
I had bought the massive spiral sliced holiday ham, and as I was carving the leftovers and sealing them into little freezer packs for future meals, I was left with a large ham bone with a surprising amount of meat attached. There was only one thing to be done: split pea soup.
Most recipes that I’d read involved cooking the peas in water, and then adding the bone. That didn’t make sense to me. Instead, I decided to make a ham stock to use as the base for the soup.
Why the two step process? Well, first of all, it allowed me to purge some aging veggies from my crisper drawer (carrots, celery and a leek) along with the 2/3 of an onion that remained from dinner. It maximized the flavor from the ham, but also gave me the chance to skim off unnecessary fat, something I couldn’t have done if I’d cooked it all together.
Step 1: Ham Stock
The veggies that I used were what I had on hand. Toss in whatever is wilting in your fridge.
- 1 meaty ham bone
In a large stock pot, add all ingredients. Cover with water.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 3 hours, or until the veggies are limp and the meat is falling off the bone.
Place your largest bowl in the sink and cover with a colander. Strain the contents of the pot into the bowl. Remove the ham from the colander and cut into bite-sized pieces. Cover and refrigerate.
Allow the stock to cool and then refrigerate overnight. Before using the stock, skim the excess fat from the surface.
Step 2: The Soup
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups dried split peas
- 8 cups ham stock
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp thyme
- Dried chipotle powder (optional)
- Diced ham
Over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and carrots and cook until soft, stirring frequently. Add split peas and ham stock. Bring to a boil, and then cover and reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 90 minutes or until peas and carrots are soft.
Using your blender or stick blender, puree about half of the soup. You want enough puree to give it that creamy texture, but not so much as to turn it into the consistency of baby food.
Return the soup to the pan. Taste for seasoning. Add salt, pepper, thyme or chipotle powder to taste.
Add the diced ham and simmer until heated through.
Serve with a nice loaf of bread for a light dinner.
“You know what I think?” the Tiny Kitchen Assistant asked. He held out his thumb horizontally, and then tipped it up and down. “My delicious meter says… it’s good!” he shouted, giving it a thumbs up. (Truthfully, I knew that he’d accept even bright green split pea soup, as long as it contained ham.)
The Husband agreed. “This is pretty good. I’d give it a thumbs up, too.”