Leftover ham and pea soup

dried split peas for soup

If your family is like mine you will have both turkey and ham on your festive Thanksgiving plate. I don’t know why we served both meats growing up, but we did, so I just roll with it as it’s the perfect excuse to create two delicious hearty soups the next day.

Also, I struggle with guilt when I eat meat so using up the entire carcass eases my conscience.

My husband is the one who cooks our Thanksgiving feast. He’s skilled at cooking for large groups and he knows how to time each dish so it’s all ready and hot at the same time. Not my forte!  My time to shine is the next day when I pick the carcasses clean of meat and boil the bones for soup stock.

If you want to make homemade soup from your Thanksgiving dinner make sure you buy a ham with the bone in it so you have something to boil into ham broth.

My soup recipe isn’t exact as it depends on the size of bone I’m boiling so I use ratios.  I  use a ratio of 1:8 for dried peas to ham broth. For example, recently I was left with 16 cups of ham broth so I used 2 cups of dried peas.

Step 1: Put the ham bone into a stock pot and add water until the bone is covered by a few inches of water. Bring it to a hard boil for about a half hour. The water should have evaporated down and some of the bone is exposed.

Step 2: Add more water so the bone is covered by a few inches of water again. This time put the lid on the pot but leave it open a crack for venting.  Cook it on medium until the bone has nothing left on it. This should take a few hours. Ham bone simmering to make pea soup broth

Step 3: Strain the broth into another container to separate the broth from the bone and bits of meat and get any bone bits out of the broth. Measure the broth to find how much you have and put the strained broth back into the rinsed stock pot. Set the bone and pieces to the side for now.

Step 4: Measure the dried peas based on how much broth you ended up with. 1 cup of peas for every 7 cups of liquid. Rinse the peas well and add them to the stock pot.

Step 5: Stir the peas in the broth. Scoop out the dried bits and bad peas that immediately float to the top. All the peas will float to the top once they absorb a bit of water so remove the unwanted floaters right away.

chopped ham for ham and pea soupStep 6: Turn the soup to simmer and leave the lid on. While the soup and peas are cooking pick the good meat from the pile of junk in the strainer. Chop it into small pieces and set it aside to add once the soup is ready. Adding it now will boil all remaining flavour from the meat.

Step 7: Simmer the soup until you have the desired consistency. If you like the peas whole, turn it off once they are softened. If you like it like a thick puree, keep simmering it until the peas all break down. It will need to be stirred often as the peas sink back down to the bottom once they have been in the broth a while.

Step 8: Add pepper to taste. Taste the soup before adding any salt as ham is naturally very salty and you likely won’t need to add any.

ladle of ham and pea soup






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