We made a homemade honey baked ham! Unfortunately, the camera was on the fritz during this process, so no special honey baked post. But we can say that it was super delicious. Fortunately, there was lots of leftover meat and bones from said ham. With working camera in hand, it was time for one of our favorite soups–split pea. Here’s where the leftover meat and bones come in handy. If you’re not familiar with the split pea, there are a few things you should know. For one, there are yellow and green varieties, and split peas are no different than the peas you grew up eating; they’re just dried, peeled, and, well, split. This soup features the green peas as they are more common in the US, but yellow peas—which are more common in Indian cuisines—are just as dandy. They are easily available in your local grocer. They are also very inexpensive. Plus, these guys are an excellent source of protein and extremely high in fiber. They couldn’t be easier to cook—not to mention, they are immensely tasty.
When the soup’s done, you’ll be tempted to purée it in a blender. You won’t need to do that. When cooked, the peas fall apart, forming a rich and smooth base. If you don’t have a leftover ham, you can use smoked ham slices, or even a ham hock. Both are easy to find wherever you shop. You can also leave out the ham altogether if you’re not a meat eater. For all of our fellow carnivores, you’ll be glad you saved your ham for this.
Split Pea and Ham Soup – Serves 6-8
1 pound split peas, rinsed (do not soak)
3 celery stalks, finely diced
2 large carrots, finely diced
1 yellow onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper
3/4 cup fennel bulb and fronds, finely diced
1/2 head cabbage, finely diced
1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced into 1/2″ chunks (save the ham hock and bone)
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
6-8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons black pepper, or to taste
1. Roast the red pepper in the oven under the broiler on each side until pepper begins to blacken, about 3-4 minutes. (Be sure to watch closely to ensure it doesn’t get too burnt.) Remove from oven, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Once cool, remove skin, seeds and dice flesh into small pieces.
2. Heat oil and butter over medium heat in a large pot. Cook carrots, onions, and celery for about 4 minutes, then add in cabbage, fennel, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook vegetables for an additional 6 minutes, or until they begin to become soft, mixing occasionally.
3. Stir in ham meat, bone and peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Then pour enough broth to cover the mixture a few inches. Bring to a light simmer, cover pot and reduce heat to low.
4. Cook for 50-55 minutes, or until peas begin to fall apart. Remove from heat. Discard bones and any extra fat. Mix in cheese, then stir in cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.