Waste Not, Want Not – Split Pea Soup

I hate, hate, HATE to waste food.  If I paid my hard-earned money for it, I better consume it all!
We usually have a Christmas ham, and I really wanted to use that leftover ham bone.  Everything I’ve read about beef and chicken bones being used a soup/broth base only fueled the desire to figure it out!
So, I introduce to you:

Split Pea and Ham Soup!

I really wanted to just eat it. Not sit around and take pictures of it.

I really wanted to just eat it. Not sit around and take pictures of it.

1c dried split peas
water (will depend on how much your peas soak, size of pan, etc)
olive oil for frying
1 onion, chopped finely
1 leftover ham bone from a roast (still leave it meaty! but please note it should’ve already been cooked once before)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme (*I find it helpful to tie them together with butcher’s twine so the twigs stay together, making removal much easier)
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
  1. Let the peas soak in at least 2 cups of water overnight (at least 8 hours, I did mine around 14). You can almost always add in more water than necessary and drain it off later.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven for a couple of minutes, but be careful that it doesn’t smoke (overheated olive oil isn’t good for you!).  Add the chopped onions once the oil is hot. *Do not skip this step! It is the base to all good soups!*
  3. Stir the onions frequently.  As the onions start to caramelize, add the soaked peas, 3-4 sprigs of thyme, ham bone.  Add just enough water to reach the top of your ham bone (I had to add about 6 cups).
  4. Bring this to a rolling boil, and let it boil for about 20-30 minutes.  Remove the ham bone to let it cool.
  5. While the bone is cooling, add the carrots and celery and let it boil for about 5 minutes, then bring it down to a simmer.
  6. Once the ham bone is cool enough to handle, cut off all meat into bite size pieces.  Add just the meat back to the pot.
  7. Bring to a boil again, and add water to the soup for desired consistency.  You can do this step a few times to get it to where you want it, but I would suggest only adding in 1/2 c at a time, and letting it simmer on low for at least five minutes before adding any more.  ** TIP: You know the vegetables and soup has cooked long enough when the thyme leaves have cooked off the twigs.  (If this hasn’t happened by the time you reach this point, continue to simmer until those leaves are off!)
  8. Let the soup cool for about 5 minutes before serving for final thickening/cooling. Be sure to remove the thyme before serving!
I found that sometimes you may want to blend some of the peas for a smoother consistency.  I had intended to do this when I first set out to create the recipe, but found that the peas had mushed up so well between the 14 hour soak and slow cooking.
I made this for my husband and father-in-law (who loves split pea soup!) and they couldn’t believe how great it was! I admit, I’m not typically a fan of split-pea soup, but this recipe totally changed my opinion.

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2 thoughts on “Waste Not, Want Not – Split Pea Soup

  1. Lindsay February 7, 2014 at 5:28 pm Reply

    Agreed. I never like to waste food when I can come up with something to make with what I have. I’ve tried other split pea recipes, but this looks good. Will have to try it out. Thanks for sharing.

  2. […] it up a bit to exclude unsprouted/unsoaked wheat…  and to use up my leftover Christmas ham that’s been freezin’ away. Y’all, these are the BASICS of eating real food. […]

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