Monday, August 11, 2008

Split Pea Goodness

Yeah, yeah, yeah...split pea is not everyone's cup of tea...or bowl of soup as it may be. But trust me when I say that this is truly flavorful and filling. Add some sweet warm cornbread dripping with melting butter and you have a very satisfying lunch or dinner. My family really likes this soup!

The Ingredients

5-6 cups water
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. ham shanks
4 TBS. butter or olive oil or combination of the two
1 medium onion chopped
1 cup chopped carrot
2 stalks chopped celery
1 lb. dry split peas
1/2 tsp. marjoram
pepper to taste

The thing I really like about this soup is how easy it goes together. But you do have to be patient because the smoky rich flavor comes from cooking the shanks for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the water. Believe me, though, when I tell you it is so worth the wait. So, put those shanks in the water, cover and simmer on a low heat until the meat pulls away from the bone.

When the shanks are done remove them from the water...and save that water, which is now a ham broth...and strip the meat off the bones. Discard the bones, fat and rind. Chop the meat into small pieces and return to the broth.

Now saute the vegetables in the butter/olive oil for 5 minutes.

While the veggies are cooking, wash the peas, removing any stones that might be in them.

I was having such fun taking pictures of the peas that I just kept going. Aren't they fun?! OK, back to soup. Add the veggies, peas, marjoram and pepper to the meat and broth. Due to the ham this really doesn't need any salt. If needed add more liquid. I use chicken broth or water or a combination of the two.

Let this cook uncovered until all the veggies and peas are very tender, adding liquid as necessary. I usually cook it about 1 hour. The thickness of the soup is totally whatever your preference is.

Setting this photo up I just had to make some cornbread to go with. It is the best!!! Add a dolop of sour cream and you are set. OK, I'm eating. Can't resist. Aren't you jealous?

MMMmmmmmm......good! Slurp, slurp.

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