Split Pea Soup with Red Wine and Ham

Winter is a quiet season for a Colorado Locavore.  Unless one has resources who greenhouse grow (fortunately I know some farmers who do) our task is to live from our stores from the fall.  This generally means a lot of root vegetables, winter squash, apples, pears (though those pears stored are probably about out now) and dried (or canned) goods.
I’ll out myself here; I am a soup-a-holic.  As soon as the first chill of fall arrives my Dutch ovens and crock pot are on the ready.  I would eat soup every meal of the day if left to my own devices.  Bean soups are definitely my favorite, providing a non-meat source of protein that is filling, warming and delicious. I generally prepare mine with dried beans, always having an abundance from local sources on hand.
After enjoying a beautiful local ham for Christmas the day arrived when we could eat no more.  The dinners, sandwiches, omelets had run their course and we needed to finish it off in a dish fit for the deliciousness it delivered.  Some beautiful soup seemed in order, this version with the traditional flavors and seasonings punched up a bit.  Kind of like ‘Big Girl Split Pea soup’.  It is full of great texture between the split peas, potato and ham and it’s great to freeze as well!
This recipe could not be easier to prepare.  I use a food processor or chopper to chop all the vegetables.  It can be made in a crock pot or on the stove.  I’ve included directions for each method.
Serves:  12
Adapted from:  Cooking with the Seasons (Lesa Heebner)
·         2 cups dried green split peas, rinsed
·         4 cups water
·         4 cups low sodium chicken broth
·         1 strip kombu seaweed*
·         3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
·         3 large carrots, finely chopped
·         3 stalks celery, finely chopped
·         1 ½ tablespoons celery leaf (fresh), diced
·         3 medium-large red new potatoes, peeled and cubed (1/2” cubes)
·         1 bay leaf
·         1 large red onion, finely chopped
·         1 ham bone
·         ¼ cup dry red wine
·         ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
·         ¼ teaspoon dried basil
·         ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
·         ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
·         ¼ teaspoon dried sage
·         1 cup ham, cubed (1/2” cubes)
·         Salt and pepper to taste
*kombu seaweed added to bean dishes help address the after affect of the beans.  Does not affect taste and is removed before serving.
1.  In a soup pot or dutch oven, combine the split peas, water, chicken stock, kombu seaweed, garlic, carrots, celery, celery leaf, potato, bay leaf, onion, ham bone and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmering, cover and cook until split peas are completely soft and become mushy (approximately 60-90 minutes)
2.  Add wine, dried herbs and ham.  Allow to simmer 30 additional minutes.  Remove kombu seaweed and ham bone.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Crock Pot Method:
Follow instructions above substituting a crock pot, adding all ingredients in Step 1 to the crock pot set for 6 hours.  When 6 hours is complete add ingredients in Step 2 and allow to simmer 30 additional minutes for flavors to fully develop.



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