Whenever I have a leftover ham bone, which is usually after some holiday, I like to make split pea soup. I try to leave plenty of meat on it when I throw it into the freezer to wait for the time when I have the inclination to put it in a pot. Today is such a day. Long ago, I had split pea soup over at my sister Debbie’s house and liked it a lot. I copied the recipe down from her (unremembered) cookbook and the shorthand recipe hand written on a scrap paper has remained in my recipe file to this day—except for when I couldn’t find it one day. I called her to ask for the recipe and she didn’t recall it at all. Oh well, what is memorable for one person is not necessarily memorable for another. Luckily, I found it again (the scrap was small enough that it got stuck between two other recipes). Here it is, my favorite split pea soup recipe, so good for January days.
Split Pea Soup
1 bag of split peas, green or yellow
10 cups cold water
1 ham bone with plenty of meat on it
½ cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped carrots
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sugar
Dash of cayenne
¼ teaspoon thyme or 2 fresh thyme sprigs
Place split peas in a large pot and add water. Add the ham bone and cook for 2 hours at a low simmer. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for another ½ hour or until peas are tender and soup is thick. Add salt if needed but usually the ham provides the seasoning.