Last Easter I cooked my heart out and was glad that my family took over the clean up portion of the meal. Isn’t that every cook’s dream? To make all the mess you want creating delicious dishes and never have to clean up again. In my house it doesn’t happen often enough. They were so thorough in their cleaning, however, that it wasn’t until the next day when I was searching the fridge for the ham bone only to find out they had thrown it away! What a waste. I had been so excited to make a nice huge pot of ham and pea soup but now I would have to wait until the next big ham holiday to nab a ham bone.
Since then I’ve amended my thinking about ham as a special dinner. Of course it’s still special but ham gets requested for dinner so much at our house that I’ve taken on a new philosophy. That is, there should always be a ham waiting in the freezer. After our last feast of smokey porky goodness I made sure the clean up crew saved the ham bone (and pan drippings) and finally I was able to make a lovely pea and ham soup.
I searched the internet for ideas, but in the end all I used was a ham bone and juices, water, pepper, bay leaves, and green split peas. I put the ham and juices in a stock pot, covered it with water, added the bay leaves and brought it up to a slight boil. I let the stock simmer for a couple of hours, then removed the ham bone and bay leaves. I divided the stock into portions for freezing and immediate use. The directions on the split pea container were to use two cups of split green peas for about 7 cups of liquid and boil until they became soft. Pretty basic. After all the peas were soft, I blended the peas a bit using my immersion blender and added some left over ham and some fresh green peas. Easy peasy.
The whole time we were enjoying this soup I kept on shaking my head and wondering aloud how something so good could be made out of only four ingredients. The whole family agreed and promised to never, ever throw away the ham bone again.