During the Christmas and Easter seasons, Trader Joe’s sells hams. I’ve been eating ham all my life and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve had any better ham than theirs. I make an effort to buy one every year when they go on sale. This year was no exception and I bought one to have around the house for the holiday. After several days of eating ham in every imaginable way, I was left with a great ham bone. There is so much potential flavor in a ham bone, so what was I to do?
Split pea soup popped into my head and I was off to making a pot of this hearty winter soup. Split pea soup gets a bad rap sometimes. Maybe it’s the unusual color. Maybe it’s a vision of The Exorcist. I’m not sure, but despite its sometimes less than appetizing reputation, I think it’s one of the most hearty and delicious soups for this time of year. The basic ingredients come together very quickly and in less than an hour, you can have a great winter supper. Leave your preconceived notions about split pea soup aside and try this recipe.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large leek, white and light green part chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb dried split peas
- 1 ham bone or 2 ham hocks
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Fresh oregano leaves (for garnish)
- 1 cup cubed whole grain bread
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1. Cut remaining ham from ham bone and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- 2 Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot.
- 3. Add vegetables and saute for 5 minutes.
- 4. Add split peas, chicken stock, ham bone, salt, pepper, and oregano.
- 5. Bring to boil, reduce, and simmer for 30 minutes or until peas are cooked.
- 6. Remove ham bone from the soup.
- 7. Puree the soup with a submersion blender, food processor, or blender.
- 8. Add chopped ham back into the soup. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- 9. Serve with garlic croutons and fresh oregano leaves.
- 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- 2. Melt butter in saucepan with garlic.
- 3. Place bread cubes in a bowl.
- 4. Pour butter over bread.
- 5. Add salt,and pepper and toss well.
- 6. Place bread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until croutons are browning.