Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Split Pea Soup with Ham Croutons

There are very few foods I don't like. In fact, once when the kids were staying with my in-laws, and my poor mother-in-law was trying to find something they'd eat (not an easy task!), Brack told her, "My mommy eats every yucky thing!". Yucky was his word - not mine. But it's true. There's little I don't eat. 

My list of things I don't like is short - liver and canned English peas. It used to also contain beets, but my daddy talked me into trying a pickled one once, and now I keep a jar in my fridge. But liver and canned peas - I see them remaining on the list. For quite a while.

That's why it's really ironic that I like this soup. But I do. A lot. And I think you will, too!

Split Pea Soup with Ham Croutons

Begin by dicing a medium onion. Saute it in a tablespoon of EVOO until it is translucent. I have a Dutch oven that's perfect for all my soups, but you could use a big saucepan. Right before they're done, add a couple of cloves of minced garlic.  

Remove to a bowl. Leave any EVOO in the bottom of the Dutch oven.

My mother had us all over to their house last Sunday for my birthday lunch. I chose ham, broccoli and rice casserole, pineapple and cheese casserole, and lima beans. Mama sent some of the leftover ham home with me. I stuck it in the freezer for a couple of days until I knew what I wanted to do with it.

I diced it into about 1/2" cubes.

I added it to the Dutch oven, along with about a teaspoon of EVOO and cooked it over medium until it got a little color on it. I removed it to a bowl and let it cool. Be sure to leave all those yummy brown bits in the bottom of the pan. They add lots of flavor!

I turned the heat up to high and poured in a 32 oz. box of low sodium chicken broth. As soon as that liquid hit the pot, all those little brown pieces let loose and swam around in the broth. Ummm...

Next I added two bags of thawed frozen green peas. (I set them out about 30 minutes before starting the soup to let them thaw. It doesn't take long.)

I added back the onions and garlic and also dropped in one piece of raw bacon. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for twenty minutes.

While all this was happening, I let one cup of heavy cream come to room temp. (I usually substitute half and half for heavy cream, but I had some in the fridge, and I really think it made the difference in this simple, fresh soup.)

After twenty minutes, remove the piece of bacon.

I then used my immersion blender to process the peas and onions. I tried to get it as smooth as possible. It will thicken as you blend it, but if for some reason it is still a little thin, you can mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with a teaspoon of water. Mix well and stir in to thicken. Repeat if necessary.

Add the room temperature heavy cream...

and stir.

I sprinkled the soup with the "ham croutons" which made it a little more of a meal. I also baked a package of crescent rolls.

This was really, really good. I have craved soups this winter with all the rain we've had. Plus, with us trying to eat a little healthier, I'm always looking for ways to get in more veggies. Yes, it has heavy cream in it, but considering this recipe serves 4-8 depending on how big a bowl you use, it's not that bad!

There'll be no hiding peas under your plate with this recipe!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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