Split pea soup (Soupe aux Pois) makes for a perfect warm, filling, hearty and healthy choice for lunch or dinner. It’s possible to make a vegetarian version of this French Canadian classic, but in my opinion a good-sized meaty ham bone is essential to giving the soup a deep, rich, smoky flavor.
1large ham bone,or smoked ham hocks, plus more diced ham meat, if desired
1cupgreen dried split peas,rinsed
1cupyellow dried split peas,rinsed
2large carrots,peeled and chopped
2large celery ribs,plus leaves, chopped
1large bay leaf
2beef bouillon cubes
1/4teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
In a large cooking pot, add the water and peas.
Bring to boil, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour.
Return to the stove and bring the soup to a boil over high heat.
Add the ham bone, carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf, beef bouillon, salt, pepper and thyme.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove the ham bone, when cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bone. Cut meat into bite size pieces and set aside; discard the bone.
Remove the bay leaves, taste and adjust seasoning.
For a smooth soup, use a hand-held blender or puree in batches using a food processor or blender until smooth. If necessary, add more water until it reaches the desired consistency.
Stir chopped ham back into the soup, and serve hot.