Tracy Keenan freezes leftover ham bones to flavor this split pea soup. If you don't have a ham bone in your freezer, buy a ham hock from the meat counter; the meat on the bone makes a nice addition to the soup. This soup is great the day after you make it; thin with water as you reheat, if desired.
2 cups dried green split peas (1 lb.), rinsed
1 ham bone or ham hock (about 1 lb.; see note at above)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
About 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
How to Make It
In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, bring peas and 7 cups water to a boil. Add ham bone, celery, onion, carrots, bay leaf, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper; return to a boil.
Lower heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until peas have broken down and soup has thickened, about 2 1/2 hours.
Remove ham bone and bay leaf. When cool enough to handle, pull any meat remaining on ham bone into shreds and return to soup (discard bay leaf and ham bone). If soup is too thick, thin with water to desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper to taste.