Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Leftovers

Split Pea Soup

If a beautifully glazed ham is the centerpiece of your upcoming Easter meal, you will inevitably have a meaty ham bone left over. Students at The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's enjoyed an impressive Easter menu and wine pairing this past Saturday with Carol Tabone and Dave Schmerr. The ham bone from the tangerine-glazed ham made the perfect base for the Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup recipe featured in this post. The Cincinnati area woke up to snow-draped trees and shrubs, so even in mid-April a bowl of soup is in order!

This soup recipe is really, really easy to make and very delicious. For very little effort the result is huge. If you are a fan of split pea soup, you will enjoy this with gusto! 

Once your ingredients are prepared, you will simply layer the ingredients in your slow cooker. We used a 6-quart slow cooker, but a smaller one will work, too.

The rinsed, dry split peas are the first layer.

Layer in the chopped vegetables and garlic.

Add the fresh thyme and bay leaf.

Nestle the ham bone on top.

Add the liquids - low-sodium chicken broth and water. Season very lightly with salt and pepper. We recommend waiting until the soup is done until you add more salt. Depending on the ham bone, you may not need to add any additional salt. It took 5 hours on high in our slow cooker.

Once the soup is done and the meat is falling off the bone, remove the ham bone from the soup. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the meat and add it back to the soup. Stir it well and then taste for seasonings.

Pea soup freezes well for up to 2 months. As the soup cools over night in the refrigerator, it will thicken considerably, so when gently reheating, you may want to add a little chicken broth or water until it is the consistency you like.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

(recipe adapted from CHOW website)

1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed
2 medium carrots, small dice
2 medium celery stalks, small dice
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bushy fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 meaty smoked ham bone or 2 ham hocks
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1½ cups water
Salt and pepper

Arrange the split peas in the slow cooker in an even layer. Arrange the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf over the peas in one even layer. Place the ham bone or hocks on top of the vegetables.

Pour the chicken broth and water into the slow cooker and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the peas are very soft and the meat is falling off the bone, on high for 5 to 6 hours or low for 8 to 10 hours.

Remove the ham bone or hocks to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, place the meat back in the soup (discard the skin and bones), and stir to combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 8 cups

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