When I was little, I always heard my parents talk about split pea soup and it always sounded so mysterious, just like oxtail soup. But I never really wanted to try it because really, why were the peas split? It seemed highly suspicious.
A few years ago, I was racking my brain trying to come up with a way to use all of the leftover Easter ham I had when it dawned on me: the elusive split pea soup! I made it and it was absolutely delicious -- nothing suspicious about it at all! (I still don't know why they are split, but now I really don't care!) I now buy a bone-in ham every Easter so during the week that follows, I can make split pea soup using the bone.
By simply using the bone, a no-brainer soup ends up rich and velvety, smooth and full of flavor. But, don't fear, even if you don't have a ham bone, this soup still delivers on taste.
Split Pea Soup
5 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
5 cups water
16 ounces split peas, picked over and rinsed
Leftover ham bone
2 1/2 cups chopped ham
Salt to taste
Measure 16 ounces of split peas. Pick out shells and rinse.
Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery and carrots. Season with salt. Allow to soften about 8 minutes. Add water, stock, split peas and ham bone. Increase heat and bring to boil.
Reduce heat, cover partway and allow to simmer for 35 minutes or until split peas are soft. Check occasionally to make sure you still have liquid in your pan. Once the peas have cooked, turn off heat and remove ham bone.
Purée half of the soup in a blender in batches. I say in batches because if you don't you'll end up with split pea kitchen and not split pea soup. Hot food expands in the blender. Trust me.
Once half of the soup is smooth, add it back to the pot and add the diced ham. Mix.
If you're serving right away, add some water if you need to thin out the soup. I always make this ahead of time because I have found that soups and pastas always taste better after they've chilled out in the fridge for a bit. If you do opt to refrigerate before serving, you will definitely need to add water when heating it up.
Serve with warm rolls or crackers or to really kick up the pork flavor, some crisped up bacon would be delicious too.
P.S. This page has been linked to Amy's Simply Sugar and Gluten Free Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and to the Hearth and Soul Hop #45.
P.S.S. Did I mention how much 15-month olds love this soup too? Because mine just gobbled it all up for lunch!