Saturday, January 7, 2012
Ham & Split Pea Soup
Unfortunately, Denny's makes a very poor introduction to split pea soup. I mean let's be real here, the color of split pea soup alone can put some people off. And serving it lukewarm doesn't help matters either. Anyhow, I was convinced I detested the stuff. But a few months ago, my husband started wheedling me for it. Apparently he has fond memories of soup made with leftover ham bones. And that is exactly how this version is made.
To me what is especially magical about this soup is the slightly smoky flavor it takes on after the flavors have melded for a day, probably from the cumin. The peas make this soup thick and starchy like potato soup and it's studded with pieces of ham. After one bite, it rocketed into my top 5 soups. This is a great recipe to make after the holidays too because you can just freeze the bone from your holiday ham to make this later. Just leave at least a couple of ounces of the meat clinging to the bone. It can even be the tougher pieces of meat since the extended cooking time will soften them up.
You start by sauteing some onions and bell pepper in a stockpot.
Ham & Split Pea Soup
Adapted slightly from Three Guys From Miami Cook Cuban
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups green pepper, chopped
5 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 pound split peas
1 ham bone with some meat still attached
5 cups water
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups calabaza or butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil or butter, for sauteing
1. In a large stockpot, saute the onion and bell pepper in some olive oil. Add the garlic and flour and saute another minute or until garlic is fragrant.
2. Add ham bone (can be frozen or thawed), peas, broth, water, and wine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 2 hours, scraping the bottom of the pot occasionally.
3. Remove the ham bone and separate the meat into bite size pieces. Discard the bone and any gristle and set aside the meat.
4. Add the calabaza to the pot and simmer 20 to 30 minutes more or until the calabaza is soft. Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or in batches with a blender).
5. Return the ham to the pot and add the cumin and butter. Taste the soup and add salt and black pepper to taste. (Ham is so salty, I don't usually add any extra salt.) Simmer 20 to 30 more minutes.