On Christmas, some families are turkey-eaters. Some, dine on a Standing Rib Roast or Rack of Lamb; under my roof, it’s all about Ham. And, one of the reasons why I love to have a ham on Christmas is to take the bone and bits of meat left behind, wrap it tightly in foil and then again in saran wrap, and stash it in the freezer for a spate of cold and wet weather like we’ve been having here in Southern California.
There’s two things I like to make when I have a handsome hambone in my possession: either my mother’s Lima Beans (not those awful hard mealy things you get in frozen vegetables, but the fat white ones) or Split Pea Soup. This time around, it was going to be the latter. It’s a simple recipe–I don’t add anything out of the ordinary, but sometimes, that’s all you really want: good, uncomplicated food.
And can I tell you how much I love the word “hambone”? I think if I ever get a dog, his name will totally be Hambone.
Choo gets grumpy when it’s wet outside, so he was happy to come home to one of his favorite soups with a batch of homemade Buttermilk Biscuits.
Split Pea & Ham Soup
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (or if you’re feeling dangerous, bacon fat)
1 large onion, medium dice
2 medium carrots, medium dice
2 large ribs celery, medium dice
1 hambone, with 1-2 cups of ham trimmed off (depending on what’s left that’s usable), chopped and set aside
1-1 pound bag of dried split peas, picked through and rinsed
8 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Heat a 4 to 6-quart sized soup pot on medium flame; add vegetable oil.
- Sweat onions, carrots and celery until glossy and onions are translucent.
- Add hambone, dried peas, chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a full boil and then turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add reserved chopped ham and stir. Return to simmer and let cook for another 30-45 minutes until peas are tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.