I had a problem this past Sunday. I needed a vegetable recipe for week 8 of the Very Veggie Challenge and I was feeling absolutely uninspired. Beyond the lack of inspiration, I had worked my way through all the fresh produce so all I had on hand was an onion and a head of garlic. It had been a clean out the fridge and freezer sort of weekend – I made poultry stock, chicken soup, pasta, cookies, a cake etc. But no veggies.

I stood with my fridge and freezer doors open, mothers everywhere cringed at the escaping cold air, and stared into the depths of my freezer. There, in the back, I spied a bag that looked like…could it be? Yes! The leftover ham bone from the birthday spiral cut ham. Rushing to the pantry, I rummaged around until – there it was – a bag of dried, split peas. Soup time!

See, here’s the great thing about split pea soup. It’s pretty much a throw everything in the crock pot and let it be kind of affair. Plus, although it usually involves carrots and whatnot, I could really get away with what I had on hand, namely, onion, garlic and spices. And stock, of course. In the end, I ended up with a pea soup (with lentils thrown in for good measure) that might be better than any of my previous pea soups. It’s flavorful from the spices and bone, has a nice texture due to the lentils and is just the right level of saltiness. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I also have this strange feeling of contentedness from using I already had in the house rather than going to the grocery store, yet again. I feel resourceful. Very satisfying.

 

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Ingredients:

16 oz bag of dried, split peas
1 C green lentils
1 Onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press or minced
2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Coriander
6 Cardamom pods
2 Tbsp Curry powder
2/3 – 1 Gallon low sodium chicken stock
1 ham bone with meat (leftover spiral cut ham bones are perfect)
Salt & Pepper to taste – do not salt until you’ve taste the end product. The ham and stock usually have enough sodium to flavor the salt and adding extra can make it too salty.

 

 

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Rinse the peas and the lentils and put them in the bottom of a crock pot.

 

 

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Place a ham bone on top of the peas and add the diced onions, garlic and spices. Pour the 2/3 stock over the whole shebang, reserving the remainder to thin out the soup if it gets too thick.

 

 

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Crank up the crock pot to high and let it sit for about 6 hours. Check on the soup after the six hours and if the peas have turned to mush and the lentils are tender then you are good to go. If everything still seems a bit tough, then let it go for another hour.

 

 

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Once everything is cooked, fish out the ham bones and bits. It will be falling apart, so be gentle when removing everything. While it’s okay if meat chunks end up in the soup, you don’t want random pieces of fat or bone in there. Remove the ham from the bone and chop or pull the meat into small pieces. Stir them back into the soup.

With a good stir, the peas should be pretty much integrated with the stock to form a thick soup/stew. If it looks like it’s too thick, stir in some more stock until you’ve got the consistency you want, or even a little looser. Remember, the soup will be thicker upon reheating.  Taste and season with salt, if needed, and black pepper.

Ladle into your favorite soup bowl or mug and enjoy!

 

Pea & Lentil Soup with Ham
 
Recipe By:
Ingredients
  • 16 oz bag of dried, split peas
  • 1 C green lentils
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press or minced
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • ½ tsp Coriander
  • 6 Cardamom pods
  • 2 Tbsp Curry powder
  • ⅔ - 1 Gallon low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 ham bone with meat (leftover spiral cut ham bones are perfect)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste - do not salt until you've taste the end product. The ham and stock usually have enough sodium to flavor the salt and adding extra can make it too salty.
Instructions
  1. Rinse the peas and the lentils and put them in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Place a ham bone on top of the peas and add the diced onions, garlic and spices. Pour the ⅔ stock over the whole shebang, reserving the remainder to thin out the soup if it gets too thick.
  3. Crank up the crock pot to high and let it sit for about 6 hours.
  4. Check on the soup after the six hours and if the peas have turned to mush and the lentils are tender then you are good to go. If everything still seems a bit tough, then let it go for another hour.
  5. Once everything is cooked, fish out the ham bones and bits.
  6. Remove the ham from the bone and chop or pull the meat into small pieces. Stir them back into the soup.
  7. With a good stir, the peas should integrate with the stock to form a thick soup/stew. If it looks like it's too thick, stir in some more stock until you've got the consistency you want, or even a little looser. Remember, the soup will be thicker upon reheating. Taste and season with salt, if needed, and black pepper.