Sometimes, things come into my possession because others know that I’ll know what to do with them. I have an array of books, photos, odd tchotchkes, and assorted spices that have all become part of my collections because people say, “Valerie will know what to do with this!”
Such was the case with the centerpiece and inspiration for this week’s entry in the #Make52 challenge. Following the holidays, I was gifted a meaty hambone, leftover from a Christmas dinner. Of course, I knew right away what to do with it: soup!
Using leftover bones, especially from ham or beef or other flavorful meats, to make hearty soup is a technique that spans centuries and cultures. Bone broth is making somewhat of a comeback, being touted as an aid for digestion, joint health, and all sorts of other ailments, but rather than give into the new fad, I reached back to a recipe my Mother would make and made split pea and ham soup.
To begin this favorite, you just stick the hambone right in the slow cooker. That’s it. Plop it right down in there and move on to the next step. The hambone sitting in the slow cooker all by itself always makes me laugh, so I took a photo of the hambone sitting there all by its silly lonesome. My hambone also came with a few pieces of leftover sliced ham, so I cut them up and added those, too. Here’s what my soup looked like after step one:
So we have the ham part of the split pea and ham, now we need the split peas. I purchased mine in a bag from the grocery store, already split and with seasoning especially for soup, though you could also purchase bulk peas at your grocery store if they are available and split them yourself. Make sure to rinse them and check for any non-pea items like pebbles or other things that might have mixed in with the peas during transport. Then, put them right in the slow cooker with the ham along with any seasonings you might want.
Finally, I added 6 cups of chicken stock as the liquid for my soup, though you could use chicken broth or other stocks and broths if you like. Give it a stir, and then set the crock pot to lo for 8 hours.
I like to check on my soups periodically while they’re cooking, mostly just to smell them as they simmer. One benefit of cooking for long lengths in a slow cooker is the aroma!
After the soup has cooked and just before serving, take out the hambone and cut the meat on it into small pieces. The meat had softened some from the sustained cooking, so I was able to just pull some of it apart. Add the meat back to the soup, give it a stir, and serve!
This soup turned out to be delicious, and perfect for warming up during this rough, windy winter week.
I’d love to hear about what you’re making, especially if you’re making something for the #Make52 project. If you’re interested in learning more about #Make52, check out this post from thenerdyteacher, and write a post or share your #Make52 projects on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!