Wednesday, October 20, 2010

split pea soup with ham


serves 12


1 ham shank
1 tablespoon canola or extra light olive oil 
12 black peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, chopped in 3 pieces
1-2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped in 3 pieces each
1 wedge of yellow onion
1/2 leek, split lengthwise 
10-12 cups water

mirepoix + ham + garlic 
6-8 carrots, 1/2-dice
6-8 celery stalks, 1/2-inch dice
10-12 ounces ham steak, 1/2-inch dice
2 medium onions, 1/2 inch dice
8-10 cloves minced garlic
2 pounds split peas
canola or extra light olive oil
1 –2 teaspoons sea salt



Heat the oil in a large pot, on medium high.  Brown the ham shank on all sides.  Create a bouquet garni by placing the remaining stock ingredients in a cheesecloth or soup sock.  Tie loose ends securely and place in the pot along with the ham shank.  Cover with water, and simmer for up to one hour.

mirepoix + ham + garlic
While the stock simmers, add a few glugs of canola or extra light olive oil to a large heavy bottom skillet, on medium heat.  Add the garlic, stirring until fragrant and lightly colored.  Next, add the onions, stirring for about 5 minutes.  Turn heat to medium high and add the ham.  Stir intermittently, allowing the ham to color a bit.  When the ham begins to brown, add in carrots and celery, stirring until vegetables begin to soften a bit but still hold their shape.


Remove bouquet garni and ham shank from the stock pot.  Skim or strain any foam or loose bits floating in the stock.  Bring stock to a boil.  Add peas, ham and vegetables and additional water to .  Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.  Season with salt to taste.  Soup keeps well, refrigerated, for up to three days and freezes well for up to three months.  Warm over low heat, adding additional water as needed.

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