Split Pea Soup

#RecipeUpTop (details below):

  • 1 ham bone or smoked ham hock;
  • 1 bag of dried split peas (16oz);
  • 1 yellow onion;
  • 1 celery rib;
  • 1 large carrot;
  • Water (to cover);
  • Salt (to taste);
  • Pepper (to taste);

Method: Dice the mirepoix, and add to a large soup pot with the ham bone and split peas, then cover with two (2) inches of water. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the peas begin to break down. Season with salt to taste, and serve.

Details

Well, allegedly spring has sprung here in rural Maine, but somebody forgot to tell the local climate. We’ve had a freak bit of snow (more on that later), and a windy, blustery, rainy day in follow up to the holiday weekend. The good news? It’s perfect soup weather, and I have a ham bone.

This is about as simple as soups get, and I like it because you don’t need stock or pre-made broth, or really anything other than a few fresh veggies, some dried peas, and some water.

Step one: dice your aromatics. This is the only important step in this process; you need to pay attention to your cuts here because this isn’t going to be a puree, so make sure these veggies are pea-sized now:

Step two: everyone in the pot, and cover with at least two inches of water. That’s it. There’s no sweat of the aromatics here because the long cooking time would reduce pre-sweat mirepoix to mush, and I want some texture at the end of the day. We’re also not using a stock, so I want the water to do the heavy lifting of flavor extraction from both the veggies and the ham bone:

Step three: simmer. Bring your water to a slow boil, then back the heat back down to a simmer, and give everything a stir. When the peas start breaking down, they’ll have a tendency to want to stick to the bottom of the pot, so don’t ignore this completely. That said, you’re probably looking at two (2) hours of simmering to get where we want to go.

When the peas begin to break down, it will (admittedly) look a bit ghoulish:

This is good news! It means we’re almost there, and can adjust for seasoning. For this soup, I literally only use salt and then garnish with black pepper. I also wait until the very last minute to add any salt at all because the ham bone (or smoked ham hock, if you’re going that route) may already have some salt content. Once you’ve adjusted, and tasted the consistency of the peas (they should still be a bit firm), you’re home. Plate in your favorite bowl and serve with some trashy crackers:

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