Split Pea Soup
This classic soup recipe is not only delicious, but easy to make. It’s so popular around here that while the ham is in the oven, I’m already being asked when the pea soup is coming. Hey, let’s eat the ham first, have some sandwiches, maybe some ham & limas, and then I’ll use the bone for split pea soup.
You buy the dried split peas in a one pound (two cup) bag at the market, in the same department as the beans, rice, and sometimes pasta. The directions on the bag are OK, but they always call for putting the cooked peas through a strainer. To me, that’s too much messy work. If you cook the soup long enough, the peas dissolve anyway.
You can either use chopped up ham, a leftover ham bone, or a ham hock for flavor. Personally, I think the best flavor is ham, which you can buy by the slice. Make a ham sandwich, and use the rest for the soup.
If you use a ham bone or ham hock, let it cook with the soup for the first hour or so. Then remove it and let it cool so you can trim off any ham without burning your fingers. Chop up the ham and put back in the soup.
1 pound (2 cups) split peas
8 cups water
ham, ham bone, or ham hock
1 minced garlic clove
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 stalks celery, chopped with some of the tops, also
1/4 cup dried parsley
1 tablespoon Sherry wine (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
croutons and additional parsley for garnish
Combine all the ingredients except the Sherry and garnish. Bring to a boil, and simmer, stirring often. After about 1 1/2 hours, remove the ham bone or hock, if you’re using them, and let them cool. By now the individual peas should be disappearing as you stir the soup. Add more water if necessary.
When ready to serve, add the Sherry, garnish, and serve with French bread. If you have a fireplace, use it. This is real comfort food.