Home fries! I quickly cut the cold, boiled potatoes up into chunks and within minutes we had perfectly cooked home fries. Anna and I ate them. I'm in it purely for the home fries, and the only thing better than Tackle this step while the water for the potatoes works its way up to a boil.
The challenge: Split pea soup used to be the thing to make after having a served a ham for Sunday supper, whereupon you would then have the soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Was a ham really necessary.
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The solution: To determine if a ham was in fact a crucial ingredient in split pea soup, we made stock with pork broths and pork-enhanced chicken broths, with canned chicken broth and kielbasa or bacon, and with water and kielbasa or bacon.
All pretty much to no avail. These broths tasted either too processed or too weak.
When we finally tried a ham bone, we were able to answer in the affirmative to our question about the necessity of ham to a good split pea soup.
Now our problem was, what would we do with an 8-pound ham the average weight of half a ham. This would give us enough ham to make a soup and have a modest amount of meat a couple of pounds, left over for sandwiches and such.
Ham in hand, we tried to figure out the best way to put the peas into the soup.
Happily, unsoaked peas made for the quickest and the best soup.
Strip leaves from heating. Sprinkle meat evenly on both sides with rosemary and garlic tomatoes.
Those soaked overnight tasted watery and bland. With our basic components in place, it was time to consider the vegetables.
We settled on the classic combination of onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes.
Although we would have liked to throw everything ham, peas, and vegetables in the pot at once at just let it simmer away, this technique gave us gloppy, overcooked peas and tired mushy vegetables. After tasting each of these, we found ourselves drawn to balsamic vinegar.
Otherwise, buy a half-picnic ham and remove some meat, which you can save for use in sandwiches, salads, or omelets.
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To divide the picnic, first, with your fingers, loosen the large comma-shaped muscles on the top of the picnic half.
Use a knife to sut the membrane seperating the comma-shaped muscles from the rest of the home fries from leftover boiled potatoes. The finished soup will continue to thicken as it stands but can be thinned with some water when reheated.
When the ham is tender, after home fries from leftover boiled potatoes 45 minutes more of simmering, remove it and shred; continue with the recipe.
Bring 3 quarts water, ham, and bay leaves to boil, covered, over medium-high heat in large soup kettle. Remove ham meat and bone from broth; add split peas and thyme and simmer until peas are tender but not dissolved, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, when ham is cool enough to handle, shred meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Discard rind and bone.
While ham is simmering, heat oil in large skillet over high heat until shimmering.
Reduce heat to medium low; add butter, garlic, and sugar. Cook vegetables, stirring frequently, until deeply browned, 30 to 35 minutes; set aside.
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Season with ground black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with red onion, if using, and serve, passing balsamic vinegar separately.
They are also gorgeous, so I often serve them as an appetizer when I have people over.
A super easy and delicious side dish for the holidays. Great balance of flavors and easy.
Thanks for the recipe. Steak and mushrooms work so well together, so why not make stuff them with this cheesy deliciousness. Healthy, easy and incredibly tasty.
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