One thing that I love most about the Holiday Leftovers is that deliciously meaty ham bone left from the New Year's ham. In these days of austerity, it only makes sense to get as much bang as we can out of the money we spend on our food budget.
I had a mom who could make a delicious soup out of anything, and often did. We never ever minded having soup for supper. It was one of our most looked forward to meals and even now when we go home to visit . . . a visit isn't complete without having a feast on one of her homemade soups at least once. One of our favourite soups that she would make was her Pea Soup. She always used the whole dried yellow peas . . .
I can't get them over here, but I can get the split yellow peas and they taste pretty similar. Mom would simmer the hambone in her special mixture of boiled water, herbs, and peas all afternoon until it was soooo deliciously comforting and filling.
She always put some carrot into it along with some peeled potato. The carrot gave it a bit of colour and an extra depth of flavour . . . she claimed that the potato absorbed any excess salt from the hambone.
We used to love it if we got a piece of the carrot and the potato in our bowl. We saw them as a real treasure. I always made sure that when I made this delicious soup for my family that there was a piece of carrot and potato for each person's bowl.
Coz I'm like that. Fair. This is delicious. Most recipes that are handed down from our mom's are. That's coz there is love attached and a beautiful history.
*Ham and Split Pea Soup*
Serves 4 to 6
This was always my favourite soup when I was growing up. My mother always used whole dried peas, but I haven't been able to find them over here. I just use the split and it always tastes pretty good regardless. It requires very little effort and more or less makes itself really.
1 ham hock, or leftover bone from a roasted ham
(make sure there are lots of meaty bits still clinging to the bone)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
and then cut in half again so that you have four pieces
1 large potato, peeled and cut into four large chunks
(my mom always said that the potato absorbed any excess salt from the ham)
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1 tsp of summer savoury (if you cannot find savoury,
use a combination of marjoram and thyme)
freshly ground black pepper
8 cups of boiling water
2 cups split peas (I prefer the yellow ones myself,
but you could also use green ones if you like)
Put all the ingredients into a large pot on top of the stove and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and then skim off any scum that may float to the top, and discard. Partially cover and simmer for an hour and a half or so, until the peas are quite soft and the meat is falling off the bone.
Remove the ham hock from the pot. Discard the skin, any fat and the bone. Cut the meat into large shinks and put it back into the pot. Skim any fat off of the top of the soup that you can and discard. Fish out the bay leaf and discard as well. Taste and adjust seasoning as required, adding salt and pepper to taste. I normally find it doesn't need any salt, but a healthy grinding of black pepper goes down well.
Spoon the hot soup into heated bowls, trying to give each person a piece of potato, carrot and some meat. Enjoy!!!
Note - If you find your soup is too thick, you can add some boiling water to it, adjusting the seasoning as required.
Over in The Cottage today some delicious Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies!