Friday, December 16, 2011

The end of the ham = simple, delicious soup

I always marvel at recipes that taste so wholesome and delicious and have very few ingredients. I love making split pea soup because you can't get much simpler: toss a ham bone and some other ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, simmer a couple of hours, and voila! Dinner an habitant would love.

I got this recipe from the ancient Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, copyright 1980. I added the celery, but otherwise, it is more or less exact.

Split Pea Soup

1 ham bone (left over from whole or half ham, preferably with enough meat left to make 1 1/2 cups)
1 lb. split peas
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly cliced
1 medium onion, chopped
7 c. water
1/4 t. whole allspice
1/4 t. peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Salt (if necessary. Mine didn't need any)

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat bone, split peas, carrots, onion and water to boiling. Tie allspice, peppercorns and bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth. Add to bone mixture. Reduce heat to low; cover, simmer 1 hour (or more, until peas have broken down completely). Discard spice bag; salt if necessary. Remove bone to cutting board. Cut off meat and discard bone. Cut meat into bite-size chunks and return to soup for serving.

My kids ate full bowls of the soup. This may be partly due to the fact that I implemented a moratorium on snacks today, since D has been living on peppernuts, crackers, and the occasional mini-mandarin. So they were hungry!

So there it is. We've used up the last of the gigantic ham.

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