Ah, Christmas. A time of food and family. And Honeybaked Ham.
I buy a Honeybaked twice a year; once at Christmas, once at Easter. I buy a large ham, at least eight pounds, and use every single piece of it — Christmas dinner, leftovers, diced ham for cabbage and noodles, breakfast ham scramble. And, of course, the ham bone for soup.
HB ham bones are usually $2.99/lb. I make sure to use everything at that price.
Here’s a basic recipe. I tend to make my stock in my countertop roaster, then cook the soup in the Crock Pot (I double or triple this batch for freezing). If you have a large ham bone, you’ll want a large pot.
SPLIT PEA AND HAM SOUP
1 ham bone with whatever stray meat still attached
2 cups diced ham, reserved for serving
1 lb dry split peas
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
several tablespoons (each) butter and olive oil
2-3 bay leaves
1 lb baby carrots, chopped
3-4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup light or heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse split peas in colander, sorting to remove any stones or bad peas. Place in bowl with two cups of water and soak for two hours.
To large stock pot, add ham bone, water that the peas were soaking in (reserve the peas to add later), an extra two quarts of water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil for about a minute; reduce heat, cover and simmer for two hours. Remove ham bone to a large bowl. Strain ham stock through a fine sieve into clean soup pot. Add reserved split peas and process gently with a stick blender if you prefer a pureed consistency.
In a small skillet, saute minced garlic and onion in mixture of 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Saute until golden but not brown. Add garlic/onion mixture, potatoes and baby carrots to stock and simmer until vegetables have desired softness (at least 30 minutes). Taste and and adjust for salt and pepper if needed.
Fifteen minutes before serving, add heavy cream and reserved diced ham, stirring to heat through.
NOTE: Soup thickens considerably after refrigeration. Thin with leftover stock, water or milk if needed. Soup freezes well.