When I was a kid, my mother would often make split-pea soup using the bones and scraps leftover from a ham roast. It was a dish I could take or leave back then but I grew to like it more and more and have made it many times as an adult. A few days before writing this post, I came across some smoke-pork shoulders going at half-price and, though they were larger than I would usually buy, the price was too good to pass up and I bought one with a view to making split pea soup for the first time in eons…
Here, I butchered the shoulder for various uses. The two chunks in the foreground are the bones with a lot of meat still attached. I used these, as well as the chunk of meat just behind them to make my stock.
I covered the makings with about two quarts of water and added green peppercorns and celery seed for additional flavor. I let this simmer for the better part of the day and then strained it.
Onion and carrot are often used in pea soup, with celery often being included as well. I didn’t have celery and I decided to try adding a bit of parsnip, which I haven’t done before. I used a cup of yellow split peas for this batch and, for the veggies, I used a small onion, a small carrot, and a small parsnip, all coarsely chopped.
The first cooking step after making the stock is to sautee the veggies in a little butter until softened and fragrant.
Next, add the stock and split-peas and let simmer until the peas are soft. This takes two or three hours. The ratio of liquid to peas is about 4 to one by volume but, unless you have soaked the peas first, you will need to add water (or more stock) from time to time. I started with a quart or so of stock and added nearly the same vlume of water during simmering.
Some people will serve the soup as is once cooked but I like it pureed until smooth. If you do this, you can adjust the thickness by either reducing a littloe further, or by adding a bit more stock.
I ate two bowls of this right away and had a pretty decent bowl leftover for later. The parsnip addition, I am pleased to say, was very nice and one I will use again in