Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I have to go 'pea!'

Let me start by saying that I'm sparing you by not having a picture of my most recent creation.
Pea soup does not ever look tasty and is not something that one would look at and say, "Mmmmm, I can't wait to eat that!"  In fact, just by its looks alone, pea soup gets a bad rap.  It is only the brave souls that can put looks aside and go for the deeper, truer essence of the soup that actually get to experience the wonderful comfort food-ness of pea soup.
Sunday night I made a ham.  A very large ham that was only going to be for me.  I figured it was a special occasion and could justify eating a little bit of ham for the holiday, even if I was going to eat it alone.  (Now before you start to pity me for having Easter dinner alone, I did have the pleasure of joining some friends for a Passover dinner earlier in the day.)  I also made my Auntie Mary's cheese potatoes, a family favorite for as long as I can remember.
But with all the ham that remained, as I am a pretty sparse eater, I had to do something creative and delectable with it.  "Mush," as my mom calls it, crossed my mind, but I didn't make a boiled dinner so it wasn't quite an option.  Ham sandwiches from now until I die also crossed my mind, even though they do remind me of every flight I would take after leaving my mom because she would always make ham when I went to visit and would pack me a nice little lunch for the flight.  There was always a note included that said, "I love you, xoxo."  I digress.  Even so, I wasn't quite up for ham sandwiches for the rest of my days.  And then I remembered pea soup.  I know it's not always the biggest crowd-pleaser, but I figured I would ride on the reputation I have for making good food.  It worked, I came back tonight and all that remained was about a cup of it.
So here's my recipe-
2 12oz bags of dried split peas
3 T of chopped garlic
1 t of pepper
leftover ham bone
4-ish cups of diced ham
1 yellow onion

1. Cut the ham you want to use in the soup off the ham bone.  Put the ham bone in a pot of water so it is covered and the boil the crap out of it for about 20 minutes.  This will infuse the water with the flavor of ham.  After 20 minutes, take out the ham bone.  Feed it to your dog or something.
2.  While the ham bone is boiling, chop the onion.
3.  You will now use the ham-infused water to flavor the soup.  Add the dried split peas, the garlic, the pepper, the onion and the ham.  Let it boil for about 10 minutes to make sure the peas get a good jump start on softening.  After 10 minutes of boiling, turn the soup down to medium-low.
4.  Now the peas will start to disassemble and everything will start to look like a mess of green with chunks of grossness.  Do not be alarmed, this is what it's supposed to look like.  Let it do its thing for about 30 minutes, checking it every now and then and stirring it up to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.  Because the soup was still pretty liquidy, I turned it back up to just about boiling and took the lid off to boil out some of the water.  (more on this later)
Your final product should look like a mush of peas.  Their original shape should actually not be distinguishable any longer and it should look like baby food (or poop).  Once this has happened and it has reached its desired consistency, which should be pretty thick but not guacamole-like, you're ready to be let into the very essence of the pulverized pea and ham extravaganza.  My mom suggests you add macaroni to it but since I don't like that and never have, I didn't even consider it.  Do as you like.

Back to the boiling out some of the things--- when I have too much liquid or something is too liquidy for my preference or as the recipe calls, I never know whether to turn the heat up and boil it out or turn the heat way low and simmer it out.  Any suggestions or wisdom you'd like to share with me would be most appreciated!


  1. I like when you digress. :-)

  2. Love the post Kate. I love Pea Soup, and I do add elbow maccaroni and don't forget the grated cheese! hmmmmm....kinda makes me want to go out and buy a ham and some peas! As for the boiling or simmering...I simmer. Boiling fast has the chance of "boiling out the flavor" in my humble opinion. Remind me to tell you about a certain turkey soup I made one time. Smelled delish, no taste. We ended up going to Burger King if that tells you anything! I believe the longer and slower something cooks, the better it tastes.

  3. P.S. I like the title.