Ham is without a doubt, a common meat that is served during the holidays. After finishing all of the delicious meat that is left….. don’t throw that bone away. Instead, throw it in the freezer to save to make a soup…. SPLIT PEA AND HAM SOUP!
My grandma makes this soup during the winter, sometime after the holidays since we always have ham on Christmas. Clearly I couldn’t wait very long this year. The bone barely even got to sit in the freezer.
Like many recipes, there are a million different ways to make Split Pea Soup. This is my grandmothers recipe that her Aunt Mary who was Finnish, use to make. Many versions of Split Pea Soup use green peas, however my grandma insists on using ONLY yellow Peas. It is the Finnish way to make it, she says.
Either way when I make it, I will ONLY use yellow peas.
I love that this soup is so simple to make, with few ingredients. Split Pea Soup is light, and salty from the ham. It’s just perfect.
When you have a few hours to prepare dinner, and want something to warm you up on a chilly night, make this. Even if you don’t have a ham bone in the freezer, you can buy a ham bone from the grocery store.
Finnish Split Pea and Ham Soup
- 1 Ham bone
- 1 # bag yellow split peas
- 1-2 Carrots shredded
- 1-2 Celery stalks diced small
- 1 Onion diced
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and Pepper
- Butter or Oil
1. In a large pot, over medium heat, saute diced onion in 2 tablespoons of butter or oil…whichever you have. Add a few generous pinches of salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute for 5 minutes.
2. Once onions are done, add ham bone to pot. Fill with water, covering ham bone almost completely, leaving a couple inches at least, at the top of the pot (room for boiling.) Add a couple more pinches of salt and pepper. Throw in 2 whole bay leaves if you have them on hand. Cover, and let boil over medium heat for 2 hours.
3. Meanwhile, grate carrots and dice celery so it is ready to go.
4. After the ham bone has boiled for about 2 hours, remove bone, and bay leaves. Set bone aside.
5. Add a little over half the bag of yellow split peas, carrots and celery to ham stock. Return to boil. Cover and boil for 1 hour over medium to low heat. Or until peas become a mushy consistency, nearly disappearing in the soup.
6. Add the extra ham if there was any left on the bone. Or any that you have on hand (lunch meat, diced ham, etc.)
7. Taste soup to determine how much salt and pepper to add. Make sure you add enough salt, but not too much! Cook for 10 more minutes or so just to heat the meat through. Serve as is, or garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
Remember, for soups, the longer it cooks together, the better. Some versions add potatoes and other herbs. Add them if you wish.
I however like to stick to this recipe 😉