Split Pea Soup with Ham

Split Pea Soup with Ham

This simple soup is a great way to use up your ham leftovers after a party.  Made with farm fresh vegetables from your garden, or local farmer’s market, this soup really hits the spot on those cool fall evenings.  Served with a slice of crusty homemade bread, this is guaranteed to warm you all the way down to your toes.  Leftovers freeze and reheat very well.

Yield: 16 hearty servings

1 Leftover ham bone, or two smoked ham hocks
1 lb Ham, diced
2 lb Dried split peas
3/4 lb Carrots, finely chopped
3/4 lb Onion, finely chopped
8 Large ribs celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp Minced fresh garlic
4 tsp Fresh thyme
2 Bay leaves
4 cups Homemade, or low sodium, vegetable stock
4 cups Water
1 lb Potatoes, parboiled, and cubed (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place peas in a large pot and cover with 4 inches of water.  Soak overnight, drain, and set aside.

In a large 7-quart pot, heat the oil, add the onion, and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and cook until just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and fresh thyme, cook and stir for 1 minute.

Add the drained peas, cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, and water, bay leaf, and ham bone.  Cook over medium-low heat, covered, for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the ham bone, and add the diced ham to the soup, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, and add the potato.  Add more water as needed, if the soup has thickened or becomes dry (up to 2 cups should be sufficient).  Simmer 30 minutes until peas and potatoes are tender.

Remove the bay leaves, adjust the seasoning, and serve with fresh warm crusty bread.