One of the best things about fall is that it’s the start of my soup season! I was at the grocery store recently where they had wonderful ham’s on sale buy one – get one free, which is a great deal when you only have to pay around $20 for two decent sized hams! It has been some time since I have prepared split peas soup and I was inspired by the fresh Ham! This dish is really pretty easy and doesn’t take all that long to prepare! Soups are simple, but pack a punch of flavors! They are comfort food and can be quite nutritious! My mom and our good friend Steve both recently got out of the hospital, so I made plenty to share. As with most of my soup recipes, you may wish to cut the ingredients in half, because it makes a lot!
2 Pounds dried Split Peas
12 Cups Water
1 stick Butter
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 Large Yellow Onions, chopped (6 Cups)
2 Cups Celery, chopped
2 Cups Carrots, chopped
4 Large Garlic cloves
3 Pounds Cured Dinner Ham, chopped (8 Cups)
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Wonder Flour (for thickening)
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Fresh Chicken Stock (1 Gallon)
2 Tablespoons Pesto
1/4 Cup Chicken Base
Place the peas in a large stock pot, cover with water by two inches (about 12 Cups) and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Drain the peas, rinse and set aside
I happen to have a left over broasted (rotisserie) chicken on hand, so I made my homemade chicken stock for the base of the split pea soup. Reserve the vegetable scraps and use in the stock. This too is an easy process and adds optimum flavor. It will make all of your soups taste so much better than if you simply used store bought broth.
Chop the onions and saute with the smashed garlic in butter and oil over medium heat until they become translucent. Add chopped celery and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, just until they begin to soften. Season lightly with salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Rinse and add the chopped ham and the peas. Cover with thee chicken stock and add the pesto and chicken base.
Cook over medium low heat until the peas have softened completely and soup has thickened. Taste before adjusting any salt levels. Stir occasionally while the peas thicken the soup.
Garnish with crackers!