Can anything taste better on a cold, wintry day than homemade split pea soup? This is one of our favorites, especially when there's a ham bone to put in it. The ham we served for the Super Bowl Party gave us a nice meaty bone, which I froze. When the weather turned cold again, I pulled it out and made this soup. Unbelievably, a little bag of split peas produced more than 5 quarts of split pea soup. One was eaten on the spot and the others went into the freezer. I can't wait to eat them up.
Split Pea Soup
1 large onion
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 medium carrots
1 celery stalk with leaves
1 bag split peas
2-1/2 quarts of low-sodium chicken broth
1 nice meaty ham bone (or 2 meaty ham hocks)
Bouquet Garni (several fresh thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 9 peppercorns, wrapped in leek
leaves or cheesecloth and tied with kitchen twine)
1 large potato
DIRECTIONS: Chop the onion into pieces. You can chop it coarsely if you are going to puree the soup. Chop it finer if you are not going to puree. (I never puree because I like little chunks in my soup.) The chopping will be faster and easier if you have a food processor. In a large heavy stockpot, saute the onion in the olive oil. After the onion is wilted, add the garlic. In the meantime, chop the carrots and celery the same as the onion. Add them to the pot. Rinse the peas and pick out any stones. Add the peas, broth, ham bone and Bouquet Garni to the pot after the vegetables are wilted. Bring to a boil. Meantime, scrub, peel and cut the potato in larger chunks than the other veggies. Add to the pot when it boils. Reduce heat and cover pot. Cook this for about 1 hour over a low heat, covered; and then remove cover and continue cooking about another half hour to reduce liquids till veggies and peas are very soft and ham is falling off the bone. Remove ham bone and slice meat into small pieces. Put the meat back in the pot. Taste for seasonings. You shouldn't need much, if any, salt. Add pepper if you want it. You now have a lot of soup to enjoy!