Here it is Christmas week and we are with our family in the Boston area. Cold, very, very cold but my heart is warm as I cuddle with my babies. It's always a whirlwind week as we go place to place seeing family and friends with plenty of cooking and baking in between.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion
4 stalks celery
4 large carrots
1 pound dry split pea beans
2 quarts water
Fresh chopped thyme
Chop onion, celery and carrots and add to a heated pan with the olive oil. The French call this Mirepoix, Americans, the holy trinity and the Italians say soffritto. Any way you say it, these three vegetables bring the flavor to many dishes.
Once softened, add the water and peas. Make sure you go through the peas and remove any small stones. Add the bay leaf, thyme and the ham bone. I like to keep plenty of meat on the bone and when it's done, remove the bone and chop the ham into small pieces and put back in the pan after using the blender.
Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 1.5 hours. Once finished, remove the bay leaf and I use a immersion blender just a quick 10 seconds or so but it's really personal taste. Some like to keep it just the way it is, I like it somewhat smoother. Also, while I am a lover of salt, ham is quite salty itself so I just add fresh ground pepper to taste.
One last tip. I made extra just because, but when it was finished, it was a little soupy for me. I like split pea soup thicker. To remedy that, I peeled a potato, rinsed it off and using a grater put it right into the soup. Within a few minutes I had my thick delicious, warm your belly soup.
Tomorrow night I will be spending my Christmas Eve just where I want to be - with my family. While we will not have Uncle Richies family with us, they will be there in spirit. After all, growing up that night was always spent at their home. They will be in the sunshine state warm and cozy with their family.
Give your family a big hug. I am so happy to say I have been doing that all week!