Split Pea and Ham Soup
Often times when people hear the word ‘Split Pea Soup’ their instinct is to be a bit grossed out by the idea of pea soup. Sure, the color of the soup has a bit of a brownish green color, but if you have never had this soup before, it is now time to try this recipe. It has the comfort, and texture of a cream-based soup, a bit of texture depending on how you pulse it down, and just packed full of wonderful flavors. To be honest with you, a slight pea flavor, and the rest is a smooth ride, with a bit of garlic, onion, carrots, and some smokiness of ham. This is truly a great bowl of soup, and can be eaten any day of the week.
- 1 lb of dried split peas, soaked overnight, picked through
- 1 red potato, cleaned and cubed
- 1 leftover ham bone with enough ham to share
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 large onion, outer skin removed, chopped
- 2 carrots, skinned, and chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup of half and half
- Homemade crouton, or great rustic french bread
Begin by heating a large soup pot with the olive oil. Add the carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, and garlic, and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the ham bone, and cover with water. Place a cover on the pot and cook for about 45 minutes. Carefully remove the ham bone from the soup, and place on a plate to let cool. In the meantime, add in the split peas that were soaked overnight, toss in the bay leaves, parsley, and thyme, and let this simmer for about another 45 minutes. Toss in some salt and pepper, and taste.
Once the ham is cool, shred the ham, and disgard the bone and rind.
The soup mixture should be lovely right about now. The goal now is to add the soup in smaller batches to a blender, or if you have an immersion blender, now is the time to use it. I go with the blender, but keep in mind when you blend hot batches of anything, that it builds up a ton of pressure in the blender. Cover the top, and apply pressure with your hand before turning it on. Blend to a nice puree, and add this to a another bowl. Repeat this process until the soup pot is empty.
Add the blended mixture back to the soup pot, on low heat, and add in the ham. Stir, taste, and get ready for a lovely bowl of soup. Add in the half and half, and mix well, keeping the heat on low, and stirring often for about another 15 minutes.
I serve mine with a rustic baguette, sliced accordingly to my bowl, lightly coated with olive oil, and garlic smear. Once broiled, or baked to a golden brown, remove and let cool.
Ladle into your soup bowls, top with the crouton, and dig in. Trust me, this soup (granted it has ‘peas’) is really comforting, and perfect for the late fall and early winter months.