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New Year's Eve Recipe: Split Pea Soup

Here's another festive favorite.

Split pea soup is, in my opinion, one of the simplest soups to make. The stove does most of the work!  If you can cut up a few vegetables and wait about two hours, you will have a hearty and satisfying "stick-to-your-ribs" type of soup.

The secret to a really good split pea soup is the acquisition of a ham bone. It really adds tons of flavor. If you are lucky enough to get one from a friend's dinner party (like I did) you can freeze it until you need it.  If you don't have a ham bone, you can add some chopped cooked ham. 

Split Pea Soup

Serves 8-10

6 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch coins (don't cut the carrots too thin or they will disintegrate when cooked for an hour)

1 large onion or two medium onions, diced

One 1-pound package of dried split green peas

Ham bone or about 2 cups cooked diced ham

1 quart (4 cups) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

3 cups of water

Dash of spices of your choice: freshly ground pepper, thyme, garlic powder, bay leaf.  Don't add any salt until the soup is cooked and you can taste it.  The ham usually adds enough salt.

In a very large, heavy-bottom pot (like a LeCreuset Dutch oven), add all of the ingredients. Heat on medium until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until dried peas are soft and carrots are cooked.

Remove from heat. When slightly cool, remove ham bone (and any pieces that fell off of it) from the soup. Remove the bones and discard them. Shred the ham. Add the ham back to the soup, stir and adjust seasonings.

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