Monday, April 5, 2010

Ham it up...

Do you have more ham left over from Easter than you're comfortable with? You could make ham sandwiches for days of course. Or try making a split pea or lentil soup and add some of the ham to that.

I was lucky enough to be sent home from my in-laws' house last night with a nice chunk of ham. I've never made a split pea soup from scratch before, I had to find a good recipe. The Barefoot Contessa never lets me down so I went with hers.
I followed the directions and then added my 1 1/2 cups of diced ham when I added the second half of peas. You can leave it vegetarian of course, it's hearty and delicious either way. I would also start with only 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. The full teaspoon may be a little strong for some people, especially kids.

The Contessa did not let me down. One of the best I've ever tasted. The perfect amount of dissolved pea to thicken the soup as well as more al dente pieces, giving it texture. A steaming bowl of the split pea with a big hunk of warm, crusty bread made the perfect dinner.
Parker's Split Pea Soup

1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All Rights Reserved
Serves: 5 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
  • 1 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
  • 1 pound dried split green peas
  • 8 cups chicken stock or water
Directions
    In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 pound of split peas, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.

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