Got leftover Easter ham? Add it to hearty split pea soup – Daily Democrat

By Carla Vigos, Laguna Woods Globe cooking columnist

My parents were first-generation Italians. Even though they both spoke Italian, regretfully they never taught us the language.

They were proud to be Americans, and instead of going full Italian, we always had the traditional ham with all the trimmings for Easter dinner. The only exception was a homemade Italian bread with dyed hard-boiled eggs shaped into the dough and then baked.

This year Easter is early, and prepping for April showers I wanted to feature a ham and split pea soup, making use of the ham bone and leftover ham. You can substitute a ham hock if you don’t have a ham bone.

This makes enough soup to share or freeze. Any questions or comments, email me at [email protected].

Split Pea Soup with Ham

INGREDIENTS

1 pound of split peas soaking in water to clean

1 ham bone or ham hock

3 tablespoons butter

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

4 teaspoons minced garlic

1 pound diced ham

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

12 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon of dried thyme or 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot and on medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, stirring for 30 seconds.

Add the ham bone/ham hock and diced ham, stirring until starting to brown. Add drained peas, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, the 12 cups of water, bay leaves and thyme.

Partially cover the lid and simmer until the split peas are done, about 11/2 to 2 hours. If the soup gets too thick while cooking, add water.

When done, remove the ham bone/ham hock and take off the meat.

If you like a smoother split pea soup, use a blender to get to your desired consistency.

Add the meat back to the soup. Adjust seasonings, top with oyster crackers if desired and serve.

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