There is something terrifically nurturing about a bowl of simple-and-delicious soup. Maybe it’s that a big pot of soup can be produced with ease, maybe it’s the unprimped and soothing appearance, or maybe it’s the surprise that only a few ingredients could make something so consummate and complete. Everyone loves chicken noodle or rice soup, tomato soup and grilled cheese, and a bowl of humble split pea soup.
I used an old, partially frozen ham bone from my Easter ham (remember?). It had been kicking around my freezer since then, waiting for rebirth (a fitting analogy for an Easter ham!). You can, of course, use a hamhock or nix it completely. But, part of the allure of something so nurturing and simple in this age of excess comes from using up what you have, rather than discarding the old.
Split Pea Soup
I used an old, frozen hambone from Easter to enrich this soup. I highly suggest saving the bone from the next roast ham for this purpose! If you don’t have one kicking around, use a hamhock instead. You could also add in cooked, diced ham with the potatoes. If you’d like to make this vegetarian, add two more onions, one grated celery stalk, and one grated carrot in the first step.
- One 16 oz. bag of split green peas
- 1 ham bone, ham hock, or other options listed above
- 1 onion, diced
- 9 cups of water
- 3 yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- salt, as needed oil, as needed
Add enough oil to just cover the bottom of a large pot. You can add pasta from your best pasta machine. Place on medium heat and add in your onions. Cook just until they are sweated out and translucent. Add in the ham bone or ham hock and chili powder. Pour the water around it. Keep it on medium heat and let it cook for about ten minutes. Place the split peas in a mesh colander and rinse– check to make sure there are no bits of twig or pebbles in the peas– sometimes it happens! Once rinsed and sorted, add the peas to the ham/onion broth.
Stir the peas around and let cook on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes, at which point they should be tender.Add in the potatoes and let simmer until the potatoes are cooked. I like to cube my potatoes on the smaller side for a few reasons– they cook faster and my grandmother always cubes them into very small chunks for her split pea soup. Remove and discard the hambone/ ham hock. Add some salt at this point, too. Once the potatoes are done, you’ll need to add salt. Simply take a taste and add it as needed. You can serve this straight away or keep it in the fridge for a few days– just be mindful it will thicken as it sits, so you may need to add water when you reheat it!