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Mom's Split Pea Soup with Ham

Serves 4 to 6

This was my mother's recipe for split pea soup and it is absolutely the best I have ever tasted. It takes a while to cook, most of which is hands off, but is very easy to prepare. Make it when you have extra time and refrigerate for up to three days for a quick weeknight meal. As much as I love this soup, I decided to create a split pea soup that uses less meat and requires a little less effort. That version, which is based on this recipe, is in the similar and related recipes.

Split Pea Soup Recipe Photo

In a 4-quart saucepan, add pork butt, peas, carrots, onion, and celery to the water. Bring to boil. Meanwhile, tie peppercorns, allspice and bay leaf in cheesecloth or spice ball. Add to saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until soup is thickened and meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove meat, slice, and return to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or keep warm over very low heat.

Notes: If you prefer not to deal with the cheesecloth, use freshly ground pepper, add 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice and the bay leaf directly to soup. Be certain to remove the bay leaf before serving. This soup is just as good with any variety of smoked meat, such as hocks. You can even use a leftover meaty ham bone if you want the flavor, but not as much meat. The recipe can be halved or made in any amount, adjusting the water if needed.