Tahoe recipe: Put Greg’s Split Pea Soup on your leftover lineup
Special to the Bonanza
My brother-in-law Greg does many things well, his crowning achievement being three great kids, one of whom is my namesake, Lyla-Simone.
Naturally, I think Simone-Lyla has a better ring to it, but I can live with her given name until she turns 18, at which time I will pay for her college if she reverses the order.
The other thing Greg makes besides my cute niece and nephews is a killer split pea soup. Now, because his entire brood lives in Hawaii (another thing I will change when the children are of age, no matter what my sister says), where it is really too hot to enjoy a steaming bowl of anything, we all wait for him to whip up a batch when they visit over the holidays and cook up a ham.
The ham dinner is the signal that soup’s on. Greg uses the leftover bone from the ham to start off the process, and the more meat left on the bone, the better.
If you did not prepare a ham this New Year’s Eve, then buy some ham hocks for your stock and a ham steak for tasty bites. Either way, it is a great winter dish — isn’t that right Simone-Lyla?
Greg’s Split Pea Soup with Ham
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 lbs. ham hocks (about 3)
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. ham steak, fat removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried thyme or two tsp, fresh, chopped
1 tsp salt
6 cups vegetable stock and possibly some water if soup is too thick
1 lb. split peas, rinsed right before you add them to soup or they will stick together
In a large pot, heat olive oil over high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and sautė until vegetables begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic, red pepper, salt and bay leaves.
Add ham hocks or ham bone with meat, chopped ham (unless you have ample meat on your bone) and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 2-2 1/2 hours or until ham is very tender. Remove ham hocks/ham bone. Shred meat into bite-size pieces and return to stock. Discard bones.
Add split peas and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, 1 hour and 20 minutes or until peas dissolve and thicken soup. If you don’t like it too thick, add water a little at a time. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves if you can find them and serve with crusty bread. Soup may be refrigerated for several days or frozen.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at firstname.lastname@example.org.