Thursday, January 2, 2014

Split Pea Soup

Some years I have a ham bone left after Christmas. And that means split pea soup!

My childhood exposure to split pea soup was largely limited to the delightful George and Martha story by James Marshall, where George pours his soup into his loafers to avoid telling Martha that her soup is awful. Maybe Martha didn't use a ham bone!

When even my kids appreciated this soup, I knew I had a winner. I would post a picture, but, unfortunately, split pea soup is not photogenic, no matter how delicious it may be.

Sometimes I don't use enough liquid and end up with thick soup; this week I didn't actually measure the liquid and ended up with thin soup. But, hey, the kids like the broth, too, so it was all good! We garnished the soup with broken crackers and no one complained. One day I served fresh buttermilk biscuits alongside the soup; tonight's accompaniment was Better Jiffy Cornbread.

Split Pea Soup

ham bone, trimmed of excess fat
water to cover bone (about 2 to 3 quarts)
1 lb. split peas, rinsed
1 large onion, diced
2 cups carrots, sliced
2 cups celery, sliced
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. minced garlic or 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1-2 cups ham, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat water to a simmer (with the bone). Skim off any foam or floating bits.

Add the peas, bay leaves, and diced vegetables. Simmer, covered, about an hour.

Remove bone with sturdy tongs. Using a stationary or an immersion blender, gently puree the cooked veggies to make the soup as smooth as you want it. (Pro tip: remove the bay leaves first. It's better that way.) Add seasonings to taste and return to a simmer.

Before serving, add chopped ham to the soup and heat thoroughly.

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