Every time I cook a ham, I make split pea soup. Which means I make it about twice a year, once after Easter, and once after Thanksgiving and/or Christmas (or both, if I'm lucky!).
With the crappy rainy weather we've been having, yesterday was the perfect day for pulling Thanksgiving's ham bone out of the freezer. Split pea soup couldn't be simpler. You can saute your veggies if you want, but you don't have to. Don't have a carrot? Leave it out. Let it get too thick? Add some water. Not a lot of meat leftover on the bone? Chop up a ham steak, or some kielbasa like I did this time. Easy peas-y. (Sorry)
My "secret" is to add about 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon of curry powder to the soup. Not enough to really taste it, but just enough to give the soup a little something. I also add a little thyme. But shh, don't tell my husband, or he won't eat it.
I have a problem photographing split pea soup in its finished state. So here it is mid-simmer. Pretty colors, huh? It's amazing what a few new light bulbs in your kitchen will do.
Split Pea Soup, version 12/12/09
1 leftover ham bone
1 carrot, diced fine
1 stalk celery, diced fine
1/2 onion, diced fine
1 clove garlic, diced fine
1/2 t curry powder
1/4 t thyme
1 bag of split peas, rinsed
1/2 link kielbasa sausage, chopped into small pieces
a handful of parsley, chopped
a handful of celery leaves, chopped
Place the ham bone in a large pot and barely cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer slightly aggressively for about 30 minutes, skimming any nastiness. Remove the bone, let it sit until it's cool enough to handle, then remove any meat and chop into little pieces. Return the bone to the pot and continue to boil while you prepare the vegetables.
Saute the veggies in a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the curry powder and thyme and a lot of black pepper. Scrape the veggies into the pot of water, and add the peas. Bring back to a boil, cover mostly, and simmer gently until the peas are about half-cooked. At this point, add the chopped up ham and sausage, and the parsley and celery leaves, and continue to simmer until the peas are completely cooked and have fallen apart, and your soup is the proper split pea soup consistency.
Taste, add more black pepper if you want (I did), and salt if necessary (it wasn't because of the sausage). Serve with crusty bread or oyster crackers. Or those large gumball-shaped hard crackers you can break a crown on, I think they're called wine crackers - love them in soup.