Every Christmas my husband and children insist that we get a "Honeybaked Ham" for Christmas dinner. Not a honey baked ham from the grocery store or Costco but a "Honeybaked Ham" from the Honeybaked Ham store. I myself am not particularly fond of ham for dinner. Not that I don't like ham, I do, but it's more a breakfast or lunch thing for me. A ham dinner just really doesn't excite me. I'll admit, a "Honeybaked Ham" is pretty good and far superior to the grocery store honey baked hams. I know this from my own taste buds and the near mutiny I had on my hands one year when I tried to get by on the cheap with a grocery store ham. I get why they want it, it's good, but it's still hard for me to fork over the $55 plus dollars for the designer brand ham. What softens the blow is that we get 3-4 dinners out of one ham. My family is happy and if you do the math: $55.00 ÷ 4 dinners = $13.75 per dinner ÷ 4 people = $3.45 per serving. No too bad. But the real reason I give into the "Honeybaked Ham" is the ham bone and the glorious pot of split pea soup that comes of it. Now I'm lukewarm on a ham dinner but I LOVE LOVE LOVE split pea soup. Seriously, there aren't enough capital letters or repeated words to express how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE split pea soup. And nothing compares to good homemade split pea soup, with a ham bone from a "Honeybaked Ham". You'll have to see for yourself. . .
(OK, seriously, don't go and spend $55 on a Honeybaked Ham just for the bone. You can usually find bone in hams at the grocery and sometimes smoked ham hocks. Either will do for this recipe.)
Here are the simple and inexpensive ingredients: olive oil, onion, celery, carrots, a bag of dried split peas, a leftover ham bone (if you don't have one grab a smoked ham hock at the store), diced ham meat, beef broth (I like low sodium), chicken stock (low sodium), salt and pepper.
In a large (this one is 5.5 quarts) heavy pot (Dutch or French Oven) sauté the onion, celery and carrot in the olive oil until soft. The onions should be translucent but you don't want a lot of color on the veggies.
While the vegetables sauté, rinse and pick through the dried peas to make sure there aren't any stones or pebbles, then add them to the vegetables. Do not do this in advance, the peas will get gummy and stick together. Rinse them just before you add them to the pot.
Add the ham bone, beef stock, chicken stock*, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
*A 14 oz. can of chicken stock is 2 oz. shy of the 2 cups called for in the recipe. Rather than open another can of broth, I just make the difference up with water which works just fine.
After an hour, remove the ham bone to a cutting board and take pot off the heat.
Remove and shred as much meat as you can from the ham bone and set aside.
Working in small batches, 1 to 1-1/2 cups at a time, blend the soup until smooth. Be VERY VERY careful blending the hot soup. Hot liquids expand A LOT and rapidly in the blender. You can really burn yourself (I speak from experience), so go slow and in small batches. Return the blended soup to the pot.
Put over low heat and add all the ham meat and bring to a simmer until ham is heated. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.
Delicious and hearty and not too bad for you. This soup will warm you through on a cold winter night.
Split Pea with Ham Soup
6 dinner portions
1/4 C. olive oil
1/2 a medium onion, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
2 large carrots, small dice
1 1lb. bag split peas
1 ham bone
1 qt. low sodium beef stock
2 C. chicken stock
2 C. water
1-2 cups diced ham
salt & pepper to taste
In a large Dutch Oven, sauté onion, celery and carrot over medium heat until soft. Rinse peas and pick through, removing any stones or debris. Add peas, ham bone, beef stock, chicken stock and water to pot. Bring to a simmer, turn heat to low and simmer 1 hour uncovered.
Remove ham bone from pot, remove and shred the meat off of the bone, set aside.
Working in small batches, blend soup until smooth. Return soup to pot, add ham meat and simmer until meat is heated through. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.