Last week we got a burst of cold weather after lots of unseasonably warm temps for weeks. In an attempt to soften the shock to our systems and use the leftover ham bone from our party I decided to make my first pot of split pea soup. Split pea soup was not something I ate growing up. Typically, leftover ham turned into ham and green beans, which is also yum! Eric and I love peas, they might be our favorite vegetable and I’ve been dying to try to make split pea soup for a few years.
I searched my cookbooks and online and came upon a recipe from Epicurious.com. Not only did the recipe get great reviews, but it started and ended with bacon. What could be better than that?!
To start the recipe, chop up your 8 slices of bacon and cook over medium heat until crispy.
While that’s cooking, prep the rest of your ingredients. There aren’t many, another reason I love this recipe, it’s really simple and easy.
Once the bacon is cooked, use a slotted spoon and remove it from the pot. Drain it on paper towels and set it aside for later. You’ll use it as a garnish for the soup.
Add the carrots and onions to the hot bacon fat and fry it up until soft.
Add in the rest of the ingredients, the ham bones, water, salt and pepper, bay leaf and split peas.
Simmer uncovered for about 2 hours until the soup thickens.
Take out the ham bone and remove the meat.
Add the ham back into the pot and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with crumbles of the crispy bacon.
Serve with a slice of country bread. This soup was filled with flavor and really warms you up on a cold day.
Here’s the recipe:
- 8 slices bacon (about ¼ pound)
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1 pound dried split peas
- 2½ quarts water plus additional if necessary
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- In a large heavy kettle cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Pour off all but about ¼ cup bacon fat from kettle and cook onions and carrots, stirring, until softened. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding 1 to 2 cups more water if soup becomes too thick, 2 hours.
- Remove kettle from heat and transfer ham hock with a slotted spoon to a cutting board. Discard fat and bones and chop meat. Return meat to kettle and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Discard bay leaf.
- Just before serving, crumble bacon and sprinkle over soup.