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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Split Pea & Ham Soup

I don't know what it is, but since I've learned how to cook I've LOVED making soups.
You just plop in the ingredients and smell it cooking all day.... so delicious. So easy! So yummy!

One of my favorite soups to cook is a soup I hated as a child....  Split Pea & Ham soup. 

I love making this soup with a leftover smoked ham.  There's usually sooo much ham left over this is a great way to use up some of the leftovers without feeling like you're eating ham for a week.

First start to any good soup is a decent broth.  I make the broth for this soup pretty much from scratch.  It takes a long time but it is so so so worth it.

For the broth:

Bone from ham with some ham bits on it
3 quarts of water (can mix in some soup stock if you have any.  This time I mixed in about three cups of vegetable broth)
2 good size onions, cut in half and peeled
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut in quarters
2-3 stalks of celery, quartered
Leaves from celery chopped in and added (the first time I saw this in a recipe, I cringed.  I always threw it away.  But it adds a lot of flavor to the broth and you can toss it out afterwards)
One herb bouquet with three bay leaves, a tablespoon of thyme, and a teaspoon of peppercorns

Boil it all in a large pot for about three hours.  Tent the lid so the steam can escape.

Put a strainer inside a large bowl to pour the soup into.  Drain the broth and discard all the solid stuff in the original broth boil (the onions, celery, carrots, bone, herb bouquet, etc).  DO NOT dump all this yummy deliciousness down the drain by accident.  I triple check to make sure my strainer is in a big enough bowl and then pour it in.  Pour it back into the pot through a sieve to take away any small impurities.

For the soup:

2 quarts of the broth you just made
2 cups cut up ham
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2  16 oz bags of split peas
salt & pepper to taste

After you get all the 'dandruff' out of the broth, add all the veggies for the soup (everything but the ham, peas, and salt & pepper).  Boil until the veggies are soft (about two hours).  Then add the ham and peas. Mix constantly, the peas will want to sink to the bottom.  Keep it boiling and keep mixing for another two hours or until all the peas are mashed up and the soup is thick.  You may use a blender if you're impatient, but I like lumpy soup so I leave it as is.  Top with some saltines and you're all set!

And your house will smell awesome and yummy!  No scented candle needed :)

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