We don’t eat ham very often around here, maybe Easter (maybe) and usually Christmas, but that’s about it. I’m not a huge ham fan (which is the primary reason) although my husband and son both love ham.
Anyway- Christmas dinner is over and we have quite a bit of leftover ham. It’s spiral sliced, so easy enough to separate into dinner sized portions and wrap and freeze, but the bone- well, if you know us well enough, you know we are very frugal and don’t like to let anything go to waste.
I’ve made a split pea soup ONCE, about 10 years ago. I decided it was time to give it another go. After all, I was home all day, we had a ham bone and bits of ham, and I had a bag of dried split peas (who knows how old that bag is- ha!). I googled a couple recipes and found a couple that would work with what I had on hand, and the amount of time I had on hand. I combined them and came up with this recipe (see below).
I dished a small bowl to each of the kids, I told them it was “Split Pea Soup with Ham” and I don’t know that they heard the first two words (or maybe they thought I was saying “Sippy Soup with Ham”- dunno) and Trevor LOVED it. He said it looked really gross, but tasted really good. Riley said it was good- not great, she didn’t LOVE it, but it wasn’t bad and she’d eat it again. Brooke on the other hand, meh, not so much. She filled the bowl with crackers until it became a thick chunky paste that she smeared on crackers to eat like a spread (ewwww). But she ate it.
Jim and I were both impressed with how good it was. And there was enough to feed all 5 of us, plus enough leftovers for either a small dinner side, or hefty lunch.
I decided to enter my recipe online to get the nutrition facts and I was surprised at how healthy it really was! (nutrition info on the printable recipe). And it was super cheap to make! With our upcoming budget year, I think we’ll be making this a lot!
SPLIT PEA SOUP
1 pound dried split peas
8 cups water
1 ham hock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups ham, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Place the ham hock in a pot, cover with water by about 1″, bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 1 hour. Drain the water (reserve about 2 cups in a separate container). After the ham hock has cooled some, pick all the meat bits off the ham and finely chop them. Set aside.
At the same time, place the peas in a large pot and add 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour. Do not drain the peas.
In a large pot (I use the same pot I cooked the ham hock in), melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
Add the ham bits, the chopped ham, the drained peas, salt, pepper, bay leaf and thyme. It should be a stew-like consistency, you may need to add a bit more water (use the reserved ham stock). Bring to near boil, then turn down to simmer. Stir occasionally, until the peas are tender- about 1 hour. Add more water (ham stock) as needed.
Just before serving, remove the bay leaves and discard. Add salt and pepper to taste.