Saturday, February 25, 2017

Golden Split Pea Soup with Ham

This recipe was provided to me by Ralph Childs' mother, who came to our home in 2009 and showed me how to make it. She called it Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup and her handwritten recipe is shown below. It's still a winter favorite at our house and I make it every year. It tastes great and is hardy enough for dinner during the cold winter months in Chicago. Until recently I didn't realize the recipe was not on the blog, so here it is.

Julian's Golden Split Pea Soup with Ham
She said "This soup is usually served with beer and a good rye bread.  A meaty ham bone will provide bite size pieces of ham to add to the soup before serving.  I buy a slice of ham and cut it up and add to the soup when it is finished if the ham bone isn't meaty enough."

Katherine Childs with Wayne Kaba
enjoying a cocktail while we wait for the soup to cook.
Even if you don't have a ham bone, you can still make this soup. I usually purchase what our store calls 'ham steak' which has a small round bone in the center. Even without it you can just substitute a couple smaller pieces of ham to cook with the base, reserving some additional pieces to put in the soup at the end so you have some chunks of meat in each serving. I've even used a bit of bacon to make the stock browning it slightly with the onion. The recipe is also easily cut in half if you are not cooking for a hungry crowd.

Ingredients (serves 8 adults)
In Momma Childs own Hand
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
8 cups chicken brother (or water)
16 ounces split peas, yellow dry preferred
1 large bay leaf
1 large ham bone, with some meat on bone
3/4 tablespoon dill weed, dry
3 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1 large celery stalk, cut up
3 medium white potato, cut 1" thick
Extra pieces of ham to finish
parsley or cilantro, to garnish (optional)
sour cream, to garnish (optional)

Instructions (with revisions by Julian)
Rinse the yellow split peas in a strainer.  Cut any dark rind (skin) from the ham that remains on the ham bone.  While some meat on the bone is good, set aside any additional meat to add to the pot at the end.

In a large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the the peeled and chopped onions and saute until just becoming tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken broth or water along with the ham bone and turn to high. Bring the pot to a low boil and add the split peas and bay leaf. When the broth returns to a low boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Add the dill weed, salt and pepper to the pot and remove the ham bone.  If any meat remains on the bone, pull it off and add back to the broth. Simmer 45 minutes longer stirring occasionally.

Add the cut up celery and cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Add the cut potatoes and increase temperature to a low boil.  Cook until tender, about 20 additional minutes.  Stir in any remaining bite size portions of ham during the last 5 minutes before serving.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving bowls and add parsley/cilantro and/or sour cream for garnish.

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