Sunday, January 03, 2010

Split Pea Soup

Kevin and I have tried to marry our very different family culinary traditions during the winter holidays. I have loved learning to make pirogi, and tolerated learning to eat pickled herring. My favorite recipe of his mother's that we've adopted though is split pea soup.

Never in a million years did I imagine loving a thick green soup with barely any spices in the recipe, but I do.

Split Pea Soup

16 oz package of green split peas
3 qts of water or enough water to cover
1 small ham shank or bone (with plenty of ham left on it)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced potatoes

In a large pot combine peas, water, ham shank or bone and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove ham shank or bone. Stir in carrots, potatoes, onions, and celery. Simmer an additional 1 1/2 hours or until soup reaches desired thickness.

Of course, by now you know that I've got some "but I do it this way" to add to any recipe. This one is no different.

First of all, we cut up even more ham and add it to the soup at the half way point. We use big chunks of potatoes. And of course, I use stock instead of water. Usually I have plenty of turkey stock left over from Thanksgiving, and I'll just use that.

However, this year, my fabulous brother and sil sent Kevin a rack of ribs from Dreamland. They were delicious. We ate them for lunch the day we made the soup, so I collected the rib bones and made stock from them.

Let me tell you. There is no other way to make pea soup now. That stock was amazing, and lent the perfect marriage of our southern and northern roots to an old recipe.