Did you know that you can go to a honey-baked ham store and just buy a ham bone? You will find that they have plenty of meat on the bone to carve off enough for a sandwich or two and still have plenty of meat to make a tasty, hearty soup. For our last ski trip of the season, we were all craving this family favorites, so Gary drove in to Salt Lake City for the required ham bone. The recipe is easy and this soup can be on the stove simmering in just 20 minutes or so. You also need a bit of time to make the homemade croutons, which are key to getting raves from the diners. This recipe delivers a one-dish meal that is hearty, healthy and delicious!
1/2 loaf Italian bread or French bread (at least one day old), cut into slices and then into cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. Add the croutons and brown, stirring constantly, adding more butter and oil as required. Remove browned croutons to a plate and reserve. Can be made up to one day in advance.
Split Pea Soup
1 ham bone, preferably with enough meat to make 1-1/2 cups ham
1 16 oz pkg. Split peas
4 carrots, sliced and halved or quartered if large
1 large onion, chopped
7 cups water
¼ t. whole allspice
¼ t. peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Remove excess fat from meat on ham bone.
Prepare split peas according to directions on package.
In 5-quart stock pot, over medium heat, heat bone, split peas, carrots, onion and water to boiling.
Tie allspice, peppercorns and bay leaf in piece of cheesecloth. Add to soup mixture.
Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 hour. Discard spice bag; add salt if necessary.
Remove bone to cutting board. Cut off meat and discard bone.
Cut meat into bite-size chunks and return to soup for serving.
Serve with croutons.