This Week’s Recipes: Take 2 Ham Bones, Add 1 ft. Snow

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What do you do when you have two ham bones chilling in the freezer and one foot of snow chilling on the ground? The answer is make soup, of course. Today I hunkered down for the nor’easter by breaking out the slow cooker for two classic soups: ham bean and split pea.

Split Pea Soup

  • First meaty ham bone
  • 1 lb. dried split peas
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1 potato
  • 1 c. vegetable stock

Spices (use your judgment):

  • Garlic powder
  • Dried rosemary
  • Dried thyme
  • Bell pepper flakes
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt

Cover with water and stew the peas, ham bone and rosemary overnight (on the low setting) in the slow cooker until the peas are almost formless and the meat pulls off the bone easily.

In the morning chop and parboil the vegetables in a little bit of water, adding the potato first so that it gets a bit softer than everything else. The carrots, celery and onion go next, and after those have cooked slightly add the spices.

As the vegetables are cooking remove the ham bone from the slow cooker and pull the meat off using a fork (and your hands). Stir the pieces back into the cooked split peas.

Once the vegetables are soft add the stock and bring them to a full boil. When the potato is mushy add the split peas and ham to the vegetable mixture, and let that entire thing cook until the soup seems done. My criteria for “done-ness” are that the split peas are creamy, the potato is mushy but not totally formless, the carrots and celery are very soft but intact, and the onion is translucent.

 
Ham Bean Soup

Ham bean soup is traditionally made with Great Northern beans, but I only had kidney beans so that’s what I did.

  • Second meaty ham bone
  • 1 lb. dried kidney beans
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 c. beef broth
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sautéed

Spices (use your judgment):

  • Dried thyme
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt

Soak the beans in water for 6 hours, or until the skins have stopped puckering.

Add the beans, ham bone and broth to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours.

Sautee the garlic cloves in an iron skillet (skin on) until the skins are slightly charred. Let cool, then peel and chop garlic, carrots, celery, and onion.

Add the chopped vegetables and spices and set on low and cook for 8 hours.

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