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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Back-to-School: Split Pea Soup with Shredded Ham

This time of year is getting a little bittersweet for me. First, our girls are getting so old! The oldest is starting her junior year in high school this year, and the youngest is entering 8th grade. Next year we'll have two at the high school! Me, the mother of two high school students. Huh. And the year after that? I'm not ready to mentally go there yet.

Second, I always spend the entire month of August hiking as much as possible in the annual Hike-a-Thon for Washington Trails Association. This year I hiked 70 miles in August alone, with a total of 11,500 feet of elevation gain. When September 1st hits, it's a hiking buzz kill. Not that I can't hike other times of the year, but in August I can literally hike to my heart's content, neglect all household duties, and feel not one whit of guilt! Powerful stuff.

I started back-to-school soup prep with a tasty split pea. I had a generous portion of leftover ham on the bone, and my fashion blogger friend Ellbee from a little blog told me keeps tweeting about eating split pea and frankly, the stars just seemed aligned.

There's just one problem. In general, I don't love split pea soup. I will not eat, nor tolerate, a split pea soup that is a bowl full of thick green mush. I've seen split pea that would hold a spoon vertical. That's just wrong, people. If you are that kind of split pea "soup" eater **coughMollicough**- move along. Nothing to see here folks!

This. Is. NOT. Soup.

I like brothy soups best, and I see no reason why split pea can't fit into that category nicely. So today I set out to make myself a split pea soup that suits my tastes. Hey, if I have to face children who keep getting older without my permission as well as end my wanton hiking orgy, I really have no choice but to indulge myself in soup done my way.

Now, this is soup. See, it needs a spoon!

Split Pea Soup with Shredded Ham
serves 6-8

1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1 large onion, medium diced (about 2 generous cups)
1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. dry mustard
1 bay leaf
2 large carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
16 oz. dried split peas
1 ham bone, with some meat still attached
10 c. water

Heat oil and butter over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add onion, and sautee until transculescent, around 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and sautee briefly until cooked, 30 seconds. Stir in all the spices and stir until the onion mixture is coated. Add the carrots and celery and split peas, and stir again until well mixed. Add in the ham bone, and then add the water.

Simmer, uncovered, until the ham is falling off the bone and the peas are just tender to the tooth, but not falling apart and getting mushy. About an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from heat. Remove ham bone from soup and let cool slightly. Shred the meat from the ham into nice chunks and stir back into the soup. Remove bay leaf and check for seasoning. I ended up adding about 1 t. salt at the end, but I didn't salt in the beginning because you never know how salty the ham will make your soup.

If you do like a thicker soup, feel free to add around 8 cups of water and simmer until your peas are mushy and thick. Just don't ask me over for dinner. :)

12 days of lunches, ready for the freezer! Soup stash joy.


  1. Oh I love it thick, but I love your version too! I guess I just love peas!!

  2. I love peas too, Amanda, just not cooked until they're unrecognizable! ;) I know some people like it thick, but there aren't enough brothy recipes out there, so I'm filling a gap that happily makes my taste buds happy anyway! Yay!