Split pea soup has to be one of my all-time favorite fall comfort foods. Creamy split peas, smoky ham and little bits of diced veggies make this soup hearty enough for a brilliant one-dish supper. Plus the leftovers... oh am I a total sucker for leftovers... are AMAZING!
1 Onion chopped
2 Garlic cloves
2 Celery stalks chopped
1 Tb Butter
2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 16 oz bag of split peas
1 32 oz container of chicken broth
1 lb of applewood smoked ham, diced
How can you go wrong when your split pea soup starts out with this?! Check out all of that delicious flavor being made as the ham browns. All of those yummy flavor bits will infuse as the split peas simmer creating depth and smokiness. MMMmmmmm....
And if you are like me, you will have to take a little "snitch" to make sure it's as good as it smells. Hey! The chef gets special privileges here and that includes nibbling a diced piece of smoky goodness while the ham cooks up.
Next, remove ham from pot and set aside. Try NOT to nibble it away. It has to make its way back into the soup!
Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic and butter to pot. Stir. Cook until tender. You will see the delicious brown bits lift from the bottom of the pot and the veggies darken as the flavor infuses. Sooooo delicious!! Your house will never smell better than at this moment!
Rinse split peas and add them to the veggies. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.Does it get any more beautiful than this? Seriously, look at those colors. This soup is full of gorgeously pigmented nutrients.
Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for about an hour to hour and a half until all split peas or tender. This healthy split pea soup with ham is definitely a weekend dinner for those of you with a long commute OR a "make ahead dinner" for tomorrow.
After the split peas are tender, pour 1/2 of soup into a blender and blend. OR use an immersion blender. (This will thicken the sauce.) If you have been considering purchasing a premium blender, check out Blendtec. I got one for my birthday last year and LOVE it! And yes, it's as amazing as the marketers claim.
Pour mixture back into pot, add ham and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so. I serve this up with hot 100% whole grain cornbread, slathered in organic, Pasteur-raised European butter... Oh my... I am starting to salivate all over again.
Split Peas are a fantastic source of protein and fiber. In fact, one cup of split peas will meet 65% of your daily fiber intake and 33% of your daily protein intake! Split peas are also a great source of manganese, copper, folate, vitamin B1, phosphorus, pantothenic acid and potassium.
Fiber- Eating a diet rich in fiber lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, primarily though the reduction of LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein). Fiber also plays a role in controlling the rate at which glucose is absorbed in the body which may reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.1 Studies also show that fiber contributes to satiety- feeling satisfied.2
Smoked Applewood Ham Steak- For my soup I used Niman Ranch ham found at Sprouts. The Niman Ranch pasture-raises hogs on small, family farms in the Midwest and their hogs are never given hormones or antibiotics. This ham is an excellent source of protein with 16 grams in just 2oz of meat, healthy fats and a bit of iron.
Veggies- The base of carrots, onions, celery and garlic not only deepen the flavor profile of the soup and taste delicious, onions and garlic contain allyl sulfides. Studies show the phytochemical, allyl sulfides have been found to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.3 Carrots are a great source of the fat-soluble vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for general growth and the maintenance of visual function.4 Yes! Your grandmother was right. Carrots are good for the eyes... which is probably the reason I am legally blind without contacts... carrots are on my own personal "Ick" list. BUT, I totally eat them when they are in soup like this. So if you have a food aversion to a super nutritious food, try "hiding it" in a soup like this!
Vegetarian friends- Omit the ham all together and use vegetable stock. I still haven't found a veggie stock I love... but when I do, I will for sure update this with a recommendation.
Kosher friends- A couple of smoked turkey legs in the split pea soup is an amazingly delicious alternative. I have personally made this substitution before and it's equally flavorful! I let the turkey legs simmer in the soup while the split peas soften. Then right before you blend half your soup, remove the turkey legs. Blend up the soup while the turkey legs cool a bit. Shred the turkey and add it back to the soup. Sooooo good!!!!
Healthy Split Pea Soup with Applewood Smoked Ham
November 14, 2016
1Brown diced ham over medium heat in dutch oven.
2Remove ham from pot and set aside.
3Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic to pot. Cook until tender.
4Rinse split peas and add them to the veggies.
5Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
6Add chicken stock.
7Bring to a boil.
8Cover and reduce to simmer.
9Cook for about an hour to hour and a half until all split peas or tender.
10Pour 1/2 of soup into a blender and blend. OR use an immersion blender. (This will thicken the sauce.)
11Pour mixture back into pot, add ham and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so.