Working for the weekend is never as fun as when the Expo is in town. For the past few years I’ve been charged with keeping the celebrities and their agents well fed in the gold room – the past 4 days have been a bit of a crazy fun no sleep cooking marathon, but getting to hang out and chat with Danny Glover (who – have I mentioned? – kissed me), Bill Paxton, John Ratzenburger, Matt Smith and the like made it totally worth chopping eight thousand bunches of kale (for this salad, which C-3PO loved!) and peeling about as many sweet potatoes for pots of soup I’ll tell you about soon.
But there was another soup – ham and split pea was requested by Barry Bostwick – ironically, I think I’ve posted twice about the Expo, and both times it was pea soup by request. Previously by Tia Carrere. (If I were to guess what a popular food request from big LA movie stars might be, and if I was allowed to make a million guesses, split pea soup would not even make that list.)
I’m thinking there are likely a few remnants of Easter ham taking up valuable freezer space out there. Split pea soup needs to be made. There is no acceptable canned variety, is there?
Ham & Split Pea Soup
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 meaty ham bone
3 cups dry green or yellow dried split peas
a handful (a cup or two) small red or yellow-skinned potatoes, quartered
a few sprigs of thyme
8 cups (2 L) chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
In a large pot, heat a generous drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion, celery and carrots for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add the ham bone, split peas, potatoes, thyme and stock, grind over a good amount of pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, or until the peas are nice and soft. (The potatoes will be too – if you like them a little more firm, add them to the pot halfway through the cooking time.)
Stir, mashing the mixture up against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon to create some pea puree along with the chunks. Taste and season with salt and pepper if it needs it, and serve hot.