This pea soup recipe is made from your leftover ham bone. It is one of my grandma's oldest recipes and it has so much wonderful flavor that even if you wouldn't normally eat pea soup, you will love this soup. Grandma used to make it with half and half, but one day she was out and used whipping cream instead. After everyone tried it, she wasn't allowed to use half and half ever again.
One of the other things that really set this soup apart are the homemade croutons. These are truly a delicious treat that add even more flavor to your soup.
-1 ham bone or 2-3 smoked ham hocks
-1 medium size onion, peeled and cleaned
-3 cups heavy whipping cream (not whipped)
-1 pound bag of dry split peas
-3 bay leaves
-3 whole allspice
-8 whole peppercorns
Sift through the dry peas to make sure nothing is included with the peas (leaves, twig pieces, etc.) Place peas in a large bowl and cover with water about 1 inch above the peas. Soak the peas over night.
The next day, Place ham bone in a large soup pot with onion. Put the bay leaves, allspice and peppercorns in a tea ball and add the ball to the soup pot; this will be removed later. Add enough water to cover the ham bone and seasoning at least 2 inches above the bone. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer until remaining meat falls off of the bones. This takes approximately 2 and 1/2 hours. Check periodically to make sure the ham is still covered with water and add more water if necessary.
Remove the ham, bones and tea ball from the water. Throw out the spices and set the ham aside to cool.
Drain the peas and add them to the leftover ham water. Bring them to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for approximately 3 hours, or until peas are completed cooked.
If you want your soup to be creamy, with no lumpiness, run the peas and water through a sieve or the blender to give them a smooth consistency.
Next, pick through the ham, saving the good parts (no fat or tough parts) and getting rid of the rest. Also pick any good ham off the bone. Chop the good ham into small pieces and add them back to the pea soup.
Next, add the cream to the soup and mix in. Bring to a boil one last time, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, cut 2 slices of white bread into 1 inch cubes. In a large frying pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings on medium heat. Add the bread cubes and fry them until they are toasty brown.
Top your bowl of soup with the bread croutons and enjoy the rich, creamy taste. This soup is truly one of my most comforting foods.