Ham and Split Pea Soup
1.5 lbs leftover ham, chopped
1 ham bone
2 medium or 1 large onion
3 tablespoons bacon grease or oil
3 cans low-sodium or no-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 large celery stalks, peeled, deveined and chopped fine
1 bag split (green) peas (you can try yellow too if the green color doesn't appeal to you)
Heat up the bacon grease or oil in your favorite soup pot or dutch oven. Saute the chopped onions for a short time to release their flavors. Add the ham bone and turn it frequently to get the flavors to begin to release and whatever meat remains to start falling off.
Leaving the bone in the pot - add your chicken broth; water; the carrots; the celery; and the green peas. Bring all to a boil then, lower the heat to medium or medium-high and keep at a simmer.
Now, you wait. Usually about two (2) hours or until all the veggies and the peas have melted into the chicken broth. The liquid around your ham bone should be savory but not very thick at this point. You can adjust it by adding just a bit of cool water (1/2 cup at a time) to get you to a "soupy" consistency. Remember, as this dish cools, it will get thicker!!
NOTE: If you don't want all your veggies to melt together, wait until the peas are cooked through (about 1.5 hours) - then remove 1 1/2 cups of a mixture of the carrots, celery and peas to your blender or food processor. Use a bit of the soup broth for liquid and pulse it until creamy. Add this mixture back into the soup. Mix well and warm through out. You can now serve is you want to see your chopped carrots, celery and individual peas!
Once the veggies and peas are liquid, you can then add in your chopped ham meat until warmed through. Then, serve.
I keep my ham bone in. However, once you are ready to serve, you can remove the ham bone and dispose of it.
Pairs Well With
Every year ONE of our Christmas entrees is ham. My husband's FAVORITE soup in all the world is ham and split pea. (Do you see a trend here?) Invariably we somehow always have leftover ham. So, of course, on Boxing Day my husband plans his annual ham and split pea soup Day!!!!
IMPORTANT THOUGHT!: You will probably NOT need to add any salt to this. The ham takes care of the saltiness. Should you feel your soup is TOO salty, try this tip/trick that I learned in culinary school: add just four or five drops (yes, drops) of good balsamic vinegar. The balsamic will eradicate much of the over-salty taste and enhance the other ingredients