This soup is incredibly tasty, starting with a stock made with ham hocks, or a meaty ham bone purchased from the Honeybaked Ham store or leftover from a spiral sliced ham. I usually increase the quantities and freeze some in containers, to have plenty of delicious rations to carry me through the winter.
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 yellow or sweet onions, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 lbs. ham hocks (about 3) or 1 center bone from a ham
- 1 1/2 lb. ham steak, fat removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (or equivalent meat from the ham bone)
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 quarts (12 cups) water
- 1 lb. dry split peas, rinsed
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- Optional: 3 tsp. liquid smoke
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté the onion, carrot, and celery until the vegetables begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Add ham hocks, chopped ham, bay leaves, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 2 to 2.5 hours or until the ham is very tender.
Remove ham hocks and bones. Shred meat into bite-size pieces and return to stock. Discard bones. Add split peas and thyme, and optional liquid smoke. Simmer, uncovered, 1 hour 20 minutes or until peas dissolve and soup is thickened. Remove bay leaves. Depending on your preferred texture, you can use an immersion blender to break down the larger chunks of ham and carrot. Makes about 6 servings.