Ham and Split Pea soup

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs ham (smoked, bone-in picnic ham)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 lb split peas, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped medium
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped medium
  • 2 medium celery, chopped medium
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 3 small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • black pepper (freshly ground)
  • red onion, minced
  • balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Place ham, bay leaves, and 3 quarts water in large stockpot or Dutch oven.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is tender and pulls away from bone, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Remove ham meat and bone from pot and set aside.
  5. Add split peas and thyme to stock.
  6. Bring back to boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered until peas are tender but not dissolved, about 45 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, when ham is cool enough to handle, shred meat into bite-sized peas and set aside. Discard rind and bone.
  8. While peas are simmering, heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering.
  9. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute, stirring frequently, until most of liquid evaporates and vegetables begin to brown (5 to 6 minutes).
  10. Reduce heat to medium-low and add butter, garlic, and sugar.
  11. Cook vegetables, stirring frequently, until deeply browned, 30 to 35 minutes and set aside.
  12. Add sauteed vegetables, potatoes, and shredded ham to pot with split peas.
  13. Simmer until potatoes and peas dissolve and thicken soup to consistency of light cream, about 20 minutes more.
  14. Season with pepper to taste.
  15. Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with red onion, if using, and serve, passing balsamic vinegar separately.

Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/americas-test...