I wrapped up the last of our 14lb ham last night and tucked it safely away in the freezer. Not before making one last ham dish, Split Pea Soup. Our ham was ginormous and way too much for a family of four.
The weather has been so cold here. I am in Wisconsin and this is winter after all. We have had a mild winter so far so I really can't complain! Nothing sounds better to me on one of those days than a nice warm bowl of soup. Split Pea is one of those soups you can make really cheaply. The 16 ounce bag of dried peas was less than a dollar. It made a huge kettle of soup. I also use this soup base. It comes in a huge container for under $4.00 and I use it in everything including Arroz con Pollo.
Back to the soup... I save my ham bone if I have one. If you don't have one you can also used a ham hock. These are very inexpensive in the meat department but give amazing flavor. You will also need 3 carrots cleaned and cut into coins, one peeled whole onion, two potatoes pealed and diced, 3-4 TBSP chicken soup base, and 6-8 cups of water. Season with one TBSP salt and a dash pepper. Don't forget to add two whole bay leaves.
Wash and sort the split peas and get rid of any ones that catch your eye, Add the peas, diced ham, ham hock, or ham bone, and the water along with the salt. Let boil for one hour on medium low heat. At this time you can add the veggies. The veggies are very hearty and will hold up to long cooking. Continue to boil for another hour. Mix occasionally so the peas won't stick to the bottom of the pot. Then add the chicken soup base and taste for flavoring. At this time you can also add the pepper and more soup base if you need it. The soup will thicken when it sits. If you have a ham bone or hock remove and let cool and pick the ham off and add it back to the soup. Be sure to remove the Bay leaves and serve with your favorite crusty bread made into croutons or a bunch of crackers. This is one of the soups that really is better on the second day!
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