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Comfort Food: Split Pea Soup with Ham

Categories: Cooking, Food

12 comments

I don’t think that I have ever eaten split pea soup in my life. It is just something that has never appealed to me. I’m not sure why, maybe it was the consistency which I imagined would be like eating a bowl of school paste. Green school paste. My husband has always professed his love for pea soup, hoping that I would one day decide to share the love and make it. But thick green soup? Ugh, no thanks.

I also assumed that my children would not like to eat pea soup. Because thick green soup? Ugh, no thanks. Yes, I project.

Fast forward to this year when we bought a pig. Not a live pig, mind you, but one wrapped in little freezer packages from a local grower. Suddenly I had a whole lot of Babe the Freezer Pig to make into meals.

So I thought, oh what the heck, I’ll make some of that split pea soup with ham. Surely it couldn’t be that bad. I could tell my kids that Shrek liked to eat swamp soup.

I know it sounds so appetizing now that you can hardly wait to make it yourself, right?

So I set out to find a split pea recipe. One that was easy. I am all about the easy recipe. If it has multiple steps or involves too many pots or pans or weird ingredients, well I am turned right off.

So after scouring the internet and my stockpile of cookbooks that I continue to buy and hold on to in case this internet thing turns out to be a fad and disappears, I realized that they all shared the same basic ingredients. And so I made up my own recipe.

1 med onion, chopped
carrots, sliced
potatoes
garlic
2 16oz bags dried split peas
water like a half gallon or so
ham steak

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First you to rinse and sort through the peas in case some tiny pebbles have made their way into the bag. You don’t want to break a tooth on an errant piece of rock. Trust me on this. I broke a tooth on one of those tiny Nerds candies, which are just like colored rocks in a package.

Put them into your stock pot with a half gallon of water or so. I just filled the stock pot a little over halfway.

Turn it on and bring it to a boil and then turn it down to simmer. Every so often go over and skim the scum off of the surface. Sounds appetizing doesn’t it? You could also call it foam if that makes you feel better. Or scummy foam if you want to gross your children out.

Then stir it up good so the peas don’t stick to the bottom and burn. Let this cook by itself for 1.5 hours. And go prepare the other ingredients. Truth be told I tossed everything else in at the one hour mark because my patience had been exhausted.

Peel and slice your carrots.

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I am beginning to think that every recipe I make has carrots in it. I had no idea I liked carrots so much until I began blogging recipes and realized that I photograph the same looking bunch of carrots every week. I can see in the dark though, which comes in really handy for avoiding stepping on toys in the middle of the night.

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Scrub and peel your potatoes. And do the same with your onion.

You can run them all through the slicer on your food processor. If you have one. I just bought one this past weekend and have been using it every chance I get.

“Kids, want mommy to slice up that PB&J so you don’t have to chew so much? C’mon”

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Crush a few cloves of garlic and add them into the carrot, onion, potato mix.

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Unwrap a ham steak. Or if you have leftover ham you could surely use that. But a ham steak was the perfect amount of meat to soup ratio.

I cut the ham steak into five large pieces.

Lots of the recipes I read said that I needed to brown the ham steak or fry the onions and garlic with the ham steak before adding it to the pot. But I didn’t want to. First of all because I hate having to wash yet another pan. And second because I am lazy and really just wanted to get on with my day already.

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Hello, Babe the Freezer Pig. You are looking mighty tasty.

So I tossed everything into the pot. And let it simmer on the lowest low possible for about 3 hours. Every once in awhile I gave it a stir or two.

After three hours had passed I took it off the stove . I fished out the pieces of ham steak and cut/shredded them. Then I poured half of the soup into my food processor and blended it all up.

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I poured it all back into the pot. Stirred it up. And served it.

And can I just say that it was delicious. I really did not have high expectations for it. Nor did I think my children would devour the split pea soup the way that they did. Even the so-called picky children ate it with gusto, and not once was swamp scum mentioned.

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Mmmmm. I have a new favorite, split pea soup.

That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.



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12 comments so far...

  • The recipe my dad taught me (not sure why, this is the only thing I remember my DAD showing me how to cook…), we would put the peas in water to soak overnight, or during the day. We would also use a leftover ham, and after soaking the beans, add the ham and simmer for a few hours. Then add the potatos, carrots, etc.
    the pre-soak makes for a much thicker pea ’stew’ consistancy, and no need to blend any of the soup.

    Oh, and I highly reccomend the french fry blade for the food processor. Everything tastes better cut to resemble french fries, even if not fried. Though sweet potato fries = loooots of nutrients.

    Katrina  |  February 19th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

  • Peas don’t get served very often in our house. I *LOVE* peas. I really do. I also enjoy split pea soup on occasion - although I doubt I’ve had it in at least 5 years. Anywho, the child and the husband both *HATE* peas. So one night I made this green giant frozen veggie mix that included pea pods. The child loves the pea pods. And then my husband starts with the questions: “Do you think those green things?”, “Why don’t you have some more of them?”, “Do you know what they are?” I was sitting across the table shaking my head and mentally screaming, “NO! Do not tell her what they are or she will not eat them and she likes them and just let her not know! It’s ok!” Evidently my husband is not psychic because he did tell her. So now the child likes peas in the pod, but not peas out of the pod. Including any peas that happen to exit the pod while the pod is on her plate.

    Jenni  |  February 19th, 2008 at 8:44 pm

  • I remember throwing an absolute fit once as a child when my step dad tried to make me eat homemade split pea soup for dinner. I have no idea what my problem was…but I was just not having it. As an adult, I’ve discovered his soup recipe is actually DELICIOUS…and I whip it up at least a few times every winter. Yours looks so tasty! Good cooking!

    Anna  |  February 19th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

  • Heh, glad to see you using your garlic press. I throw all the ingredients in the crock pot, but you’d have to have a BIG crock pot to handle your double recipe!

    I also like throwing in BACON.

    Brigitte  |  February 20th, 2008 at 1:24 am

  • Serve with cornbread and the meal is complete! :)
    DeShā’s Cornbread
    From DeShā’s Restaurant in Lexington, KY

    Anyone from Lexington knows this is the best cornbread ever. Its very moist…not like that dry cakey cornbread that you see so often.

    3 cups self-rising cornmeal
    1/3 cup sugar
    6 eggs
    1 ½ cups vegetable oil
    3 cups sour cream
    2 2/3 cups cream style corn
    1 ¼ cup butter, softened
    ½ cup honey

    Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan.

    Combine first 6 ingredients in order listed. Mix well. Pour into 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
    Mix butter and honey for honey-butter.

    Judy  |  February 20th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

  • I usually make split pea soup around New Years with the bone and meat from a spiral sliced ham. This year, however, said soup gave me uncontrollable gastric distress of the “airy” kind, so I couldn’t eat it. After two meals of it and said after-effects, I had to toss it out. Hubby wouldn’t eat it and the kids didn’t think very highly of it either. I was quite sad.

    Chris says: Next time invite us over

    Jamie AZ  |  February 20th, 2008 at 3:48 pm

  • Yum. That looks delicious.

    Maybe it will be the soup that I never knew I always wanted to try.

    Chris says: That is how it was for me!

    jody  |  February 20th, 2008 at 4:35 pm

  • A couple of winters ago I realized that I hadn’t made split pea soup in years. I had the remains of a spiral ham and bone. Made everything from scratch, cooked it for hours. It smelled good. I had one bowl and remembered why I hadn’t made it in so long. I didn’t really like pea soup all that much. Nobody else wanted any. Big waste of time and effort.

    Chris says: Wow, that stinks for you. At least it really is minimal time and effort involved, unlike other things I have made and hated
    .

    happy  |  February 20th, 2008 at 11:15 pm

  • I make split pea soup often, and my husband and I both love it! If I have the time, I’ll sear the meat in the bottom of the stockpot- that adds some great flavor. And, to me, bay leaves totally make the flavor of split pea soup!

    But a word to the wise… make sure it doesn’t burn! The last time I made this I let it cook for about 15 minutes too long- and it tasted like soupy cigarette ashes… (my husband still ate it without complaint- but I think that had more to do with the fact that I had pregnancy hormones…)

    Chris says: He is a smart man ;-) But I agree the stove needs to be as low as low can go.

    Sara  |  February 21st, 2008 at 1:45 am

  • You made pea soup funny.

    Ms.carson  |  February 21st, 2008 at 3:11 am

  • We had ham on Sunday. On Monday two of my kids came home afterschool and Said “Mmmmm Ham soup, I can’t wait” Unfortunately they had to since I didn’t make the soup yet. Silly me I thought they wouldn’t want to have ham 2 days in a row. So, Tuesday I had no choice Ham soup was on the menu. We call it Ham soup (don’t want to put focus on the less favorite ingredient) and I use yellow split peas (no ugly green colour) It sais on the bag of peas I used that they only needed to cook for 20-30 minutes and I had no scum (lucky me)

    tanya  |  February 21st, 2008 at 6:08 pm

  • *drools*

    Mandy  |  February 21st, 2008 at 7:55 pm

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