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Rediscovering Mom's Split Pea Soup

 Mom used to make a soup after Easter using the leftover ham bone and veggies. She called it pea soup. It was thick and tasted of smoked ham.

 Meaning not the slightest bit of disrespect, but your mom in this one little case was not particularly original – Split Pea Soup or Pea Soup is an institution in many households after a ham has been cooked. We have been known to cook a ham just to have the makings for the soup!

Split peas are peas that have been dried so that they split in two. Many people soak the peas in water overnight to rehydrate them, but if you do this, your peas will fill up with water and will not have room for the hammy broth you are creating, so they taste bland. You can put dried peas directly in your emerging soup and you will have better flavor.

In many households the "recipe" involves putting the ham bone in a pot, adding split peas, covering with water, and applying heat for several hours. We think onion, carrots, and bay leaf – at least – are also essential to a really good split pea soup. Some recipes add potatoes; some add a bit of garlic. We do neither.

Some add an acidic ingredient – vinegar, lemon juice, Madeira, sherry, balsamic vinegar, etc. – to balance the richness of the soup. We occasionally put a spoonful of sour cream in the center of each bowl, which counters the richness and adds to the richness, if you know what we mean.

Here is a recipe that includes potato and garlic. Feel free to follow the leadings of some who have gone before you and omit them….

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