This year, Mr. Domestique and I had an orphan Christmas. Usually we fly to see either my family in California or his family in Florida, but this year we stayed put here in Colorado. In order to keep with his family's holiday food tradition, Mr. Domestique really wanted a Christmas ham so I pulled out my copy of Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking and made a Christmas ham, French style. We invited a friend to have dinner with us, and ended up having what felt like a ton of ham leftover despite our best efforts at eating the entire thing in one sitting.
While the ham was delicious on it's own, leftovers do start to get a bit boring after a while so I decided to make a ham and split pea soup, using the ham bone and all. The sweetness of the carrots in this recipe helps to balance out the saltiness of the ham, and the potatoes add a nice creamy factor that's perfect for a cold, snowy day.
Ham & Split Pea Soup
2 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 small potatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups dried split green peas, rinsed and soaked
16 cups water and/or broth
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
Ham bone and/or sliced ham to use while cooking the soup
Diced ham (as much as you have left over!)
Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic in the butter until the onions are translucent. Then add the water/broth and ham bone. If you don't have a ham bone, add a couple big slices of cooked ham. Bring everything to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 1-2 hours, or until peas are mushy. Next, remove bay leaves, thyme and ham bone or sliced ham (if using sliced ham, dice it in preparation for returning it to the soup) and blend the soup with an immersion blender (or you can use a potato masher) until everything is pureed to the desired consistency. Add the diced ham and simmer for 15 more minutes. After 15 minutes, taste to adjust seasonings (you can add salt at this point if you want), serve and enjoy!
Ham Bone Soup
This recipe makes a lot of soup. You can always freeze some if you can't eat it all so you can continue to enjoy christmas ham well after the holiday is over! Enjoy!