The Easter Bunny ran out of hard-boiled eggs by the time he got to our house last Sunday. He only brought a little bit of candy, a few books, and some Lego toys in the four Easter baskets he left behind. That was fine with me; I didn’t want to find broken egg shells all over or, even worse, smelly old forgotten eggs under furniture. Our egg hunt was in the backyard with plastic eggs the treasure to be found.
We had a great meal to celebrate the day. Twelve of us enjoyed a family meal together. My sister flew in from New York City, and my daughter and her family drove from Tennessee. We had devilled eggs, ham, asparagus, green beans and carrots, au gratin potatoes with goat cheese, fruit salad with celery seed dressing, hot rolls and cupcakes for dessert. The food was all delicious and I hope everyone had as good a time as I did.
We had some ham left, enough potatoes and vegetables for two servings, and plenty of fruit salad to spare. We had a Honey-Baked ham, spiral cut, and I served the ham at room temperature, choosing not to reheat it and risk it drying out too much. I have done it both ways in the past and prefer it served right out of the package without reheating.
The day after Easter I took the remaining ham off the bone and packaged it up. I covered the bone with water in my Dutch oven and simmered it for a few hours to make a good ham stock. I refrigerated it and this morning removed most of the congealed fat that had collected on top. With the ham stock as a base, I made split pea soup which is one of my favorite soups. Give me a big bowl of split pea soup, some cheddar and good bread and I’m a happy soul. I had all I needed on hand, so it was quick and easy to make. Here is the basic recipe I used:
SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH HAM
1 T. olive oil, and 1 T. butter
1 lb. package split peas, picked over and rinsed
6-8 c. broth (I used ham broth but chicken is fine)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 T. parsley, chopped
1 t. fresh thyme, stripped from stems
1 bat leaf
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 c. ham, chopped in small bite-sized pieced
salt and pepper to taste
Tabaso sauce, to taste (optional)
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter. Add the carrots, celery, onion and cook until the onion is translucent and soft, 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring another minute.
2. Add the broth, the peas, parsley, and thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.
3. Add the ham pieces and the potato and continue simmering until it is tender and the peas are super tender and starting to dissolve.
4. Taste the soup and add black pepper and salt to taste. Add Tabasco sauce by drops to taste.
5. Cool the soup in shallow bowls quickly and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.