Split Pea and Ham Soup

From Elaine Haney

Makes about 1 gallon

Ingredients

2 quarts stock of choice (chicken, vegetable, etc)
2 tablespoons fat of choice-(bacon drippings, olive oil)
1 large meaty ham bone
2 pounds split green peas
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 large carrots, diced or sliced
2 or 3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
brown sugar to taste (about 1 tablespoon)
dry Amontillado sherry to taste (about ¼ cup), may omit if desired

Preparation

Sauté the onions and garlic in the bacon drippings or olive oil. Once they are translucent and beginning to brown slightly, add in the celery and sauté another few minutes.

Add in all the stocks, and a third quart of water. Add in the ham bone. Once everything is getting pretty warm, add in the split peas and the spices, herbs, and pepper.

Bring to just above a gentle simmer. It needs to be at a slow boil for close to 2 hours in order to break the peas apart. Stir frequently so the bottom of the pot doesn’t burn. After the soup has been boiling gently for about 45 min, add the carrots.

Towards the end, remove the ham bone, and take all the meat off the bone and chop it into little bite size pieces and return it to the pot. It there is any marrow in the bone, pry it out with a bamboo skewer and add it to the pot also. Discard the bone.

Taste the soup, ensuring that the peas have dissolved and are tender. Add the sugar if needed, and any salt if needed. If desired, add the sherry. Cook for 5 more min to burn off any raw alcohol taste.

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