Split Pea and Ham Bone Soup

As the holidays are close behind us, I’m confident I’m not the only one who found a honey-baked ham dwindling down to the bone in my refrigerator. If you are (or have ever been) in such a situation, and find yourself feeling like you want to get more use out of that bone and the meat scraps clinging to it, I’m here to help! And, fun fact: this exact same recipe can be executed by replacing every mention of ham with lamb.

What you’ll need:

  • Two cups dried split peas
  • One large white/yellow onion
  • Three celery ribs
  • One shallot
  • Five garlic cloves
  • About a quarter cup of fresh chopped parsley
  • One ham bone
  • Two bay leaves

For starters, it’s best to soak split peas a couple hours at room temperature before using (I actually did mine overnight). It’s not necessary, but omitting the step will mean it will take longer for them to cook. To cook, just put them in a pot, with more than enough water to cover, and a little salt. Hint: you will likely need more water than you think. Split peas tend to require a water-to-pea ratio of 4:1. Bring the pot to a low simmer, and cook until peas are tender. Skim any film that forms on the surface and discard. Once the peas are finished strain off the additional water by pouring everything into a colander.

In the meantime…

Cut all excess meat off of the ham bone that you can. You don’t need to be perfect with it, as you’ll be getting the rest later.

Small-dice your onion and celery, mince the garlic, and slice the shallot.

Put a heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat, and add a tablespoon of cooking fat/oil of your choice (I went with rendered bacon fat!). Once the oil is hot, add the onions and celery, and allow them to slightly caramelize.

Once they have some color, add the shallots, parsley and garlic, and sweat for about a minute. Then add your ham bone and bay leaves, and add enough water to cover the bone (should be about a gallon).

Bring water to a low simmer, and cook for one hour.

After an hour, remove the bone, and bay leaves.

Using a pair of tongs (or a fork), pull all the remaining meat off of the bone, add it to what you were able to cut off of it before cooking, and rough chop all of it.

At this point, take roughly half of your cooked peas, and set them aside with the ham.

Add the remaining peas to the soup pot, and puree everything with a stick blender.

Add ham, and remaining split peas (don’t blend them!). Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and a bit of fresh-grated nutmeg. Stir, and you’re done!


Easy peasy!

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