We have a little secret: we don't cook dinner every day. In fact, we don't cook dinner rather frequently, instead we heat-up dinner from the vast selection of meals in our freezer. However, dinner is usually limited to those dishes that aren't "work friendly" as in, those that S can't eat easily with a fork out of a Gladware container while standing in a hallway of a hangar watching the weather channel on a 52" wall mounted television. Yeah, I wish I had a 52" tv in my office too.
Lettuce wrappers, fajitas, tacos and soup are just a few of the meals that fall under the unfriendly category. Of all of the unfriendlies soup is hands-down our favorite go-to meal. I know, I know, you're thinking, "soup? I eat soup before my meal!" But I assure you, this soup is a meal, a stick-to-your-ribs-OMG-this-is-so-good meal.
The key to making this most delicious split pea soup is a super meaty ham bone. I buy a spiral honey ham whenever they're on sale and bake it with its glaze. We'll have ham for dinner one night, I'll freeze a few "ham dinner" lunches for S or maybe make pumpkin penne with ham instead of sausage and then use the rest of the ham for soup. We have a huge crock pot and this recipe is sized for it, but would do just as well in a very large heavy-sided soup pot. This recipe makes enough to freeze at least 10 generous servings.
Ham-Bone Split Pea Soup
Spiral ham bone with 1/4 of the spirals and all of the meaty ends remaining
3 one pound bags split peas (no need to soak)
18 c. water, divided
4 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or a huge scoop of minced garlic from the jar
8 large carrots, peeled and sliced in thick rounds, at least 1/4" - use regular carrots, not baby carrots
1 large bunch of celery, leaves and all, rinsed and chopped
2 packets Herb-Ox sodium-free seasoning packets, chicken flavor
2 packets Herb-Ox regular (with sodium) packets, chicken flavor
you can use chicken broth instead of water in substitute for the seasoning packets, however, I find that the soup can get too salty depending on the salt-level of the ham, which tends to vary
2 T. dried savory
12-18 whole peppercorns
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove remaining spirals from ham and chop into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a large 7 qt. crock pot or soup pot of at least 10qt., combine ham bone, ham, peas, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, savory, peppercorns, Herb-Ox and 10 cups of water.
4. After six hours carefully remove the ham bone, gently shaking the soup and peas back into the pot. Place on a cutting board to cool. Continue to cook soup, covered.
6. Add remaining eight cups of water (minus any that you added during the first six hours) to the crock or soup pot. Continue to cook crock on high for remaining time, continue to simmer soup on low for two more hours, until peas have lost their shape when the soup is stirred.
7. Remove from heat, stir to break down any additional peas (continue to cook, if peas still retain their shape) and season with salt and pepper to taste. I rarely find that it needs additional salt and if I do, I will use an additional Herb-Ox packet (full sodium variety) instead of salt.
8. Serve or freeze in freezer bags (bags, yes really! Just make sure they're sealed and lay them down flat) or gladware containers.
S removes the peppercorns when he's eating the soup, but I eat them. Meaty, delicious soup!