Ham

Don’t toss out that ham bone, make Split Pea and Ham soup

I had a busy day today and have been working on cleaning out my freezer. One of the things that I wanted to use up was a meaty ham bone that was in my freezer from this spring. Our family usually has a large ham for both Easter and Christmas and I always save the bone for soup or beans. So today with the high temperatures only reaching 35 F degrees I thought Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with that ham bone sounded wonderful.

 

Splitpea and ham soup corn bread and sweet icetea on a very cold winter night

Split pea and ham soup corn bread and sweet ice tea on a very cold winter night

One of the great things about split peas is that they do not need soaked. I also love that in the slow cooker they cook down in a matter of 5 hours. So dinner was ready as I finished packing up another of the hundreds of boxes we have in the house now. We are packing to move once again but this time I think this is the last move for many years. So this soup was perfect as we work on getting things ready for the 19 mile move. 5 hours in the slow cooker and about ten minutes prep time and we had a great dinner.

For this soup you do need about a one pound ham bone or two ham hocks. They add a wonderful smoky flavor and the meat is a nice contrast to the creamy peas.

Slow cooker split pea with ham soup

1 pound split peas

3 carrots

1/2 large yellow onion

3 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons celery flakes

1 bay leaf

1 meaty ham bone or 2 ham hocks

5 cups chicken stock or 5 cups water with bouillon cubes

Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash and sort peas putting them in the base of a 5 quart slow cooker,

Split peas in slow cooker

Split peas in slow cooker

Then add carrots, onions, garlic, spices and top with ham bone.

split peas topped with vegetables and ham bone

split peas topped with vegetables and ham bone

Cover with broth and cook on high 5 hours or low for 7 to 8. Remove bone, meat should just fall off, then cut remaining meat off bone when cool and add back to soup pot. Usually the soup is pretty salty so salt at the end of cooking. The soup will thicken as it cools so this is one soup that needs to cool just slightly for my family.

I usually make a sweet corn bread or muffin to go with the salty soup. The left overs freeze well and keep the deep smokey flavor. Hope you think of this the next time you have a holiday ham and don’t know what to do with the bone.

Yes, I did say we are moving and that will be a post for this weekend… closing is tomorrow. I will be packing up the computer very soon so my posts will be a little slow for a little while as we get settled again in another home. I will write about all of it soon. Thanks to all the new followers. I am really glad you have joined me and my family on our adventures. We will be moving closer to the mountains and will see more snow in the winter but it will be nice to have several hundred acres of open space behind the house that my family can hunt, forage and hike on!

 

 

 

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Categories: Corn bread, Ham, Moving Day, soup, soup | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Cream of Potato, Wild Ramp and Ham soup

For anyone who loves spring in Appalachia there is nothing more defining in the spring then the smelly Ramp. A wild onion that many of us in the hills love and look forward too every year. The traditional way to cook a Ramp is to chop up the greens and all, frying it in bacon grease until soft and serve it with the traditional brown beans( pinto usually) corn bread and fried potatoes. I love this just like any hillbilly, but on occasion, I like to use ramps more like garlic and bring out more of their subtle  flavor. I came up with this recipe last spring  after we had a large amount of ham left over after Easter. Ramps are at the peak of their short month-long season during this time of the year and we loved this to use up left overs. I have other posts about Ramps if you want more recipe ideas.

Cream of Potato Ramp and Ham soupe

Cream of Potato Ramp and Ham soup

washed, roots removed and ready to eat

washed, roots removed and ready to eat

These are ramps that we forage for and then clean and freeze every spring for summer and fall use. Sadly, they never make it to winter because our family likes to eat them to much. So here is another way to eat a small bunch of ramps without using all the greens. A great way to use up wilted ones or some with out the green stems.

 

Ramps and Potatos

Ramps and Potatoes

 

This very simple soup is ready in about 30 minutes and produces about 6 servings..

Cream of Potato,Ramp and Ham soup

1/2 stick of butter

1 cup chopped ramp bulbs and 6 to 8 ramps with tops chopped fine

2 gloves or garlic minced

4 cups water

3 chicken bouillon cubes

5 med potatoes

1 1/2 cups left over smoked ham

3/4 cup instant potato flakes

1 can condensed milk or 8 0z of whipping cream

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1 teaspoon celery flakes

salt and pepper to taste

 

 

I started with 5 med white potatoes peeled and diced into medium-sized chucks and about 1 cup ramp bulbs and about 6 ramps with tops and about 1 1/2 cups diced ham. Make sure that the ramps get well washed to remove any hidden dirt and chop them fine. They are hard like garlic so mince well to make sure they soften quickly.

melt 1/2 stick butter in the bottom of a 5 or 6 quart stock pot add minced ramps with tops and garlic and season with about a table-spoon salt and a dash of pepper. Saute until soft and aromatic about 5 minutes. Add 4 cups water, 3 bouillon cubes and chunks of potato simmer with Bay leaf about 20 minutes. Until the crisp edges of the potatoes begin to soften into the stock. Then add parsley and celery flakes and about 1 to 2 cups diced smoked ham. The soup appears to have a light green cast to it at this point.

ramps, stock and potatoes simmering

ramps, stock and potatoes simmering

 

Simmer again for about five minutes and then add 1 can condensed milk and about 3/4 cup potato flakes (you can substitute cream here, I usually always have canned milk on hand so I use it). This will thicken the soup and make it creamy without losing all the texture of the potato chucks in the soup. Make sure the potatoes are soft all the way through at this point, try to stab a chuck with a fork. The potatoes should fall apart or smash when stabbed, if not, continue to simmer for several more minutes. Remove the bay leaf and allow to cool and thicken. I wait about 8 to 10 minutes to thicken the soup.If it still seems to thin, add a few more tablespoons of instant potatoes and add more pepper if needed. Once you add the milk the color appears more of  a light tan with the green floating in the soup. Beware, if you add to many greens to the soup it will turn a wonderful grass-green color. I made a batch this way and a couple of my friends felt put off by green soup, so you may want to limit that amount of greens you add.

soup with condensed milk added

soup with condensed milk added

 

This soup also brings out he aroma of the ramps so if you are not completely used to the smell of roasting garlic or of fresh ramps you may not find the aroma of this soup appealing. Our family on the other hand looks forward to the smelly little guys and knows that with that scent comes a wonderful taste of spring. I hope you enjoy and eat more Ramps.

Field of wild growing ramps

Field of wild growing ramps

 

Categories: country cooking, Foraging, Ham, ramps, Ramps, soup | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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