how to turn a ham bone into split pea soup
January 27, 2010 1:57 PM   Subscribe

recipe filter: how do I make a delicious split pea soup using a giant leftover ham bone?

When I was a kid, whenever my family had a ham, my mom would use the bone to make an amazing split pea soup. Sadly, she made it by memory every time and it is one of the recipes that passed away with her.

Obviously none of you (i would assume) know my mother's recipes. But many of the recipes I have used from here have been so wonderful that I would rather solicit you all for your recipes than wade through hundreds of recipes on the internets. Though I will probably do that as well.

posted by phelixshu to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, super easy. Just get two pounds of split peas and use the recipe on the back of the bag. Split peas, carrots, onion, and don't worry about the chicken stock since you have the bone. If you have a slow cooker, do it in there.
posted by letahl at 1:58 PM on January 27, 2010

We did this just a couple of weeks ago after our Christmas ham was all finally gone.

Throw everything into a big pot, just as letahl says -- just make sure there's enough water (you may have to top it up regularly), and let it all simmer for hours until the delicious smell is too much for you and you have to eat some.

We used a combination of mixed, dried beans and pulses from the local health food store. They didn't need soaking overnight, but check what the packet says on your split peas. (You may save time if you do soak 'em.) We also add a small can of tomato puree to make the soup thicker and richer.

Watch out for gristly bits that have fallen off the bone into the soup -- you may want to sift for these.

Taste as you go and see what you think!
posted by vickyverky at 2:05 PM on January 27, 2010

Even with the ham bone, it can't hurt to have some chicken stock on hand just in case it doesn't have the flavor or consistency you're looking for. Pea soup really is one of those things you tweak as you go. I throw a little thyme and a bay leaf in mine as well. The best part really is that nothing needs to be sauteed ahead of time or anything -- you just dump everything in a pot and simmer.

If you're cooking on the stove, allow at least 90 minutes of good simmer time (2+ hours would be ideal). And I'm a big fan of putting a spoonful of white vinegar in the bowl before I eat it. My mom says it's a German thing, but I have absolutely no idea if that's true.
posted by awegz at 2:11 PM on January 27, 2010

Here's mine.
posted by cog_nate at 2:20 PM on January 27, 2010

I like pea soup with a bit of dark beer (e.g. a porter or stout) added near the end of cooking. You don't want to add so much that you can easily taste it, but just enough to round out the flavour a bit.
posted by ssg at 2:40 PM on January 27, 2010

My recipe, like most is pretty much what's on the bag, except I add ham (the bone and shreds of the meat sticking to it would be good) and sausage balls - a pound of breakfast sausage or a package of Jimmie Dean's sage sausage, divided into large-marble sized balls which are then fried and added to the soup toward the beginning of its simmer. It'a been a while since I've looked at the recipe, but it if doean't call for a bay leaf and some rosemary you should add those. My father always claimed that was the Queen of Sweden's recipe. In absense of evidence to the contrary, you could make the same claim.
posted by path at 2:41 PM on January 27, 2010

Split pea is virtually impossible to screw up. Any combination of salt, pepper, peas, carrots, onion, celery and pork is AWESOME. Recipes are so totally unnecessary and kinda ruin the toss-stuff-in-a-pot magic of soup.

Lotsa herbs will taste great in it in reasonable quantities. Parsley, tarragon and marjoram are all good.
posted by paanta at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2010

Older versions of "The Joy of Cooking" have a fantastic recipe:
Split Pea or Lentil soup
posted by xsquared-1 at 2:51 PM on January 27, 2010

When I do this, I usually make a stock from the ham bone (simmer it in water for a few hours, strain and chill overnight to de-fat if you want) then cook the peas in that. If you can get a ham hock to throw in with the bone, that's even better.
posted by Lycaste at 3:04 PM on January 27, 2010

I do the same as Lycaste above - but I first remove all the "good" bits of meat that I want to put in the soup. I put all the bones/gristle/fat/skin/whatever into the pot to simmer forever, then strain it all out and throw away the solids. After I have just liquid, then I put the good meat back into the stock and cook the soup following the recipe. I do the same process with chicken stock.

I used to just put the whole thing into the hot water, but it was so hard to separate the good meat from the trash when it's hot, and cooking the good meat for so long makes it not so good. So now I separate it first, then cook the refuse to make stock.
posted by CathyG at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2010

Boil just the ham bone in vege stock, or water, for about 30mins to an hour - the leftover bits of meat should just fall off the bone. Pick the bone clean after about 45mins, and remove the bone, leaving delicious ham, and hot ham water in the saucepan. Add diced carrot, celery, onion, a decent handful of split peas and maybe half as much barley. Bring to boil, and simmer for a long time - until peas and barley are soft, if too much liquid boils away feel free to top it up with water or more stock.
posted by robotot at 5:49 PM on January 27, 2010

If you have the inclination, you can roast the carrots (don't peel them, just give them a good scrub), celery and onion before you make the soup. Roasting = more flavor! and it is good.
posted by cooker girl at 7:06 PM on January 27, 2010

posted by dinger at 9:33 AM on January 28, 2010

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