Cook with me: Pea Soup

I am not the most economical cook in the world. I have picky kids, a picky husband. I can’t just buy hamburger and throw something together. I have to grind the meat myself, and use very expensive meat or carefully remove anything that might possible be a “bit” or my husband will reject the food, so making hamburger is time consuming and expensive.

He is pretty much a chicken eater, and even then, if I make something too many times, he’ll get sick of it and complain (like grilled chicken thighs). He loves when I make Mexican food, but enchiladas is a two day process for me (one day to make the sauce, one day to make the enchiladas). So I make a lot of chicken with a sauce and risotto, but I have one daughter who hates risotto. She’ll eat mashed potatoes, but I have another daughter who won’t. Cooking drives me insane. I love to cook, but my family have kind of ruined it for me. If I could just make something everyone would eat! I haven’t yet. Well, except for one particular chicken meal, but that’s the one the husband complains about being tired of.

Some days, I cook for me and I don’t care if anyone eats it. That’s what I did on New Years. I love ham, so for New Year’s day, I bought a bone-in butt end ham. I did a simple honey glaze (corn syrup, butter, honey). Husband refused to eat the ham (ha ha on him, I already cooked chicken with lemon caper sauce for him and the kids). Two of the children tried the ham, and they liked it. One ate chicken.

The next day, I cut all the useable meat from the bone and put it in a Ziploc, then used the big meaty bone to make black bean soup. Husband loved the black bean soup. For the next several days, I used the ham for sandwiches, salads and omelets. Sometimes, I would just eat a cold slice of ham if I was really hungry, and Morgan liked that, too. Then one week after New Year’s Day, I took the last of the ham and made Split Pea Soup. I used salt pork for the flavoring since I had already used the meaty bone for black bean soup. Then at the end of cooking, I tossed the diced ham into the soup. My husband also loved the Split Pea Soup (until he got a bit of salt pork, that grossed him out, so I revised my recipe below to make sure you don’t dice the salt pork).

I paid a scant $.77/pound, and bought a 10 pound ham, and when you consider how many meals we got out of it, it was well worth it.

When they go on sale after Easter, I’ll buy a couple for the freezer.

Here is my recipe for split pea soup:

1 half package of Hormel Salt Pork
about 1 cup of diced ham – more or less depending on taste
1 large onion, diced
2 medium celery ribs, diced
1 large carrot or two medium, diced
three red potatoes diced
1 package of green split peas
salt and pepper
Chicken broth—32 ounces

Rinse split peas and place in Dutch oven with 32 ounces of chicken broth, and 32 ounces of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until beans are tender, but not dissolved.

While water starts to heat, slice salt pork thin and slowly brown in large skillet to render the fat. When a sufficient amount of fat is rendered, remove slices and drop them into the water with the split peas.

Cook the onion, celery and carrots in the salt pork fat until soft and almost brown.

When the split peas are done, put the vegetables and the raw potato into the split peas, Add water until you get consistency you want. And cook until the potatoes are soft. Remove the salt pork slices, add the diced ham and salt and pepper to taste.

May also use Tabasco to taste.

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