Monday, January 17, 2011

Split Pea Soup

This recipe presents certain difficulties in the way of quantities, namely that of water. I put the split peas in a kettle, which as we all know, vary in size, and then I put in enough water to cover the hambone, which was probably about a gallon. The soup turned out possibly a little less thick than anticipated, although, plenty thick enough. So, how much water should you put in? I would start with 8 cups, which is half a gallon. Then you can add more water if you wish.
Now, I don't know what pea and bean packers have done to peas and beans since the 1960s, but you don't have to soak peas and beans overnight anymore. You especially don't have to soak peas overnight. So, my advice is to omit step 1, especially if you forgot about it the day before. This makes a good standard split pea soup. I haven't made split pea soup in several years, maybe 20, but then I didn't put it through the blender. It came out thicker. In fact when I put the leftovers in the refrigerator, it solidified, and had to be scooped into a pan and diluted with milk. This soup does not solidify.
The only difficulty in making the soup is obtaining the ham bone. Hams seem to be larger than I remember them being. When I did make split pea soup, pre children it was just for me and my husband, so we weren't feeding a crowd with these hams. But the smallest ham with a bone that I could lay my hands on at Safeway was a good 8 or 9 pounds, and we ate it for a couple of weeks before we got to the ham bone stage. But, it's a good winter soup and easy to make. I recommend it for anyone stuck in the house during a snow storm. Just make sure you have a ham bone ready.

Split Pea Soup

2 cups dried yellow split peas
cold water
1 ham bone
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 carrot, studded with two whole cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large potato, diced
boiling water if necessary

1. Day before, pick over and wash the peas. Cover with cold water and let soak overnight. (See introduction.)
2. Next day, drain the peas and place in a kettle with fresh water to cover. Add the ham bone, celery, onion studded with cloves, carrot, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer two hours or until peas are tender. Add the potato and cook thirty minutes longer.
3. Run the soup through an electric blender (making sure not to fill the blender too full and paint your kitchen walls with soup.) Adjust consitency with boiling water if soup is too thick. Check seasoning.
Makes 8 servings.

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