We cooked a ham for Christmas, so I purposefully saved the bone in the freezer until I was ready to make this soup. I think the hambone also contributes to the delicious meaty flavor of this soup. However my hambone wasn’t very meaty, so I added some of the cooked ham that we’d saved for lunches. But if you don’t have any ham I doubt it would affect the taste much, it would just have a bit less protein. But if you’re making your soup with a meat-stock base (I used chicken stock), then the stock helps to stretch the protein that is in the soup from the split peas and the hambone, because the stock helps your body to absorb and utilize the available protein more efficiently.
Split peas are also about the only legume that I seem to tolerate. I prepare them by soaking them overnight in warm water. Then just before I start making the soup I drain and rinse them in a colander. I cook the split peas with a strip of kombu (kelp) because the amino acids in the kelp help to soften beans/legumes and make them more digestible, plus the kelp adds valuable vitamins and minerals.
Split Pea and Ham Soup
1 pound yellow split peas* (soaked overnight in warm water, then rinsed)
6 cups stock/water (I used 3 cups homemade chicken stock, 3 cups water)
1 ham bone
1 onion, diced
1 small strip of kombu/kelp
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium large carrot, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
1 cup diced cooked ham (optional)
1. Place split peas, ham bone and stock/water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum that floats to the surface.
2. Reduce to a simmer. Add the onion, kelp, bay leaf and garlic.
3. Gently simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Stir periodically to prevent the split peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
4. Add the carrot, celery, salt and pepper. Simmer for another 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the peas are completely mushy and soft. Add a bit more water/stock if needed, but careful not to make the soup too runny.
5. Remove the bayleaf (no need to remove the kelp because it will have disintegrated into the soup) and puree the soup (I use an immersion blender). Be careful of hot splashes!
6. Add the butter and ham pieces and simmer for 5 minutes to heat the ham through. I add butter because otherwise this soup has very little fat in it.
7. Taste and adjust seasonings as required.
*Note: You could also use green split peas, but I prefer yellow – I think they have a slightly sweeter, nuttier taste. Soak the split peas overnight in a bowl of warm water (make sure the split peas are covered by a couple inches of water). Drain and rinse before cooking.
For another soup featuring these beautiful yellow split peas, here is my Split Pea and Spinach Soup.
Linking to: Sunday Night Soup Night!, Monday Mania @ Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Barnhop @ The Prairie Homestead, Make Your Own Mondays, Real Food 101 @ Ruth’s Real Food, Fat Tuesday @ Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays @ Cooking Traditional Foods, Real Food Wednesdays @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Healthy 2day Wednesdays @ day2dayjoys, Full Plate Thursdays @ Miz Helen’s, Pennywise Platter Thursdays @ Nourishing Gourmet, Fight Back Friday @ Food Renegade, Friday Food Flicks @ Traditional Foods, Freaky Friday @ Real Food Freaks, Make Ahead Monday