I made a 10-pound ham last week and the Ziplock bag of perfect-for-sandwich slices I had cut off the bone had gone a couple of days without being touched— by anyone.
This is the point in a leftover’s life where I take it upon myself to sweep in like a triage nurse and save the poor vestige of a previous night’s dinner on its downhill slide into the garbage.
Split pea and ham soup had been calling my name for a couple of weeks and now I had the perfect excuse to make it. There is something about the way the little dried peas break down into a creamy mass that makes it one of my go-to comfort foods. Some take that inherent creaminess to another level and puree the whole thing, but I like to leave mine chunky, it seems more filling that way.
The color of pea soup is always used as an insult, but I think it has a subtle beauty that is well suited for the late winter table and apparently my family agrees, because there is none left. Another leftover tragedy averted.
SPLIT PEA AND HAM SOUP RECIPE
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion medium diced
- 3 medium leeks washed, cut in half vertically and thinly sliced (light green and white parts only)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 medium carrots medium diced
- 2 stalks cerely medium diced
- 12 ounces smoked ham medium diced
- 1 pound dried green split peas rinsed
- 12 cups stock broth or water
- 2 bay leaves
- Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, leek and garlic and season with black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add ham, carrot, and celery and season again with black pepper. Cook until veggies start to brown, about 6 minutes.
- Add peas, stock, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered until peas are tender and starting to fall apart, about 1 hour. Taste and add salt and more pepper if necessary.