November 1, 2009

SPLIT PEA AND HAM SOUP

SPLIT PEA AND HAM SOUP

1 ham bone
1 lb. dry split peas
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1 lb baby carrots
1 lb spaghetti, broken into 3" pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
1 can evaporated milk or 1 cup light cream or milk

Empty package of split peas into a colander or bowl. Sort through well, removing foreign matter and imperfect peas. Rinse well. Soak for two hours in 2 cups water.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until garlic golden, but not brown in color. Add ham bone, water in which peas have been soaked and 2 extra quarts of water, and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil for 1 minute; reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour. Remove cover and simmer an additional hour or until soup is desired consistency. Add baby carrots during final 20-30 minutes of cooking (may be roughly chopped, if desired, or leave whole).

If you prefer a pureed soup, process using a hand blender before adding carrots.

Taste soup one half hour before serving; add additional garlic or garlic powder and salt and pepper, as desired. Bring a separate pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.

Stir in milk or cream 10 minutes before serving. If you have any leftover ham, add at this time. Stir in spaghetti. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Note: Kids like to use the leftover soup the following day for an after-school snack by adding hot dogs sliced into 1 inch coins boiled briefly in a saucepan and stirred in. The soup thickens up overnight in the refrigerator, so stir in more milk or a pat of butter before serving.

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