They say that when life gives you lemons – make lemonade.
I feel this old chestnut applies to other situations too, especially after Christmas. This Christmas, the Chews enjoyed a glazed Christmas ham (in my maple, orange and spice mix), along with roast lamb and all the trimmings (including my Sister-in-Law A’s famous stuffing).
Despite cutting up generous chunks of ham for everyone to take home, J and I were left with a sizeable portion of ham left on the bone. Taking it home, I vowed to make good use of it. We made toasted sandwiches. I contemplated making ham and egg pies. But what I really wanted to make was soup. In 36 degree weather (that’s almost 97 degrees farenheit). Slightly crazy. But more than slightly delicious.
When Christmas gives you a 4kg Leg Ham … make Pea and Ham Soup.
Red lentils, green lentils, yellow split peas and green split peas
You can use any mix of lentils/peas in this soup – I’m not picky, and I had a whole range stored away for a rainy day. In the end I went with the four kinds in the photo above. I particularly like using the yellow split and red lentils because they break up in the soup, giving it a silkier richer texture.
I should have done a “Huey” and wiped the rim of the bowl. Sorry!
Pea and Ham Soup (Christmas, the sequel)
Yields: … heaps
Note: If you’re not still recovering from eating and partying, start this early. You’ll need time to soak the peas/lentils.
- Left over Christmas ham, bone-in (this recipe also works with 500 grams of bacon bones or hocks instead)
- About 250 grams dried peas and lentils
- 2 potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
- 2 – 3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly diced
- 1 medium gold sweet potato (about 250 grams), peeled and roughly diced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped or processed
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or processed
- Bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
Earlier that day, or the night before
- Pour the dried peas and lentils into a large baking dish (white ceramic is good here for better visibility)
- Sort carefully, removing any stones, rocks and other inedible bits.
- Cover the lentils in about a litre of water, leaving to soak, preferably overnight (a minimum of 2 – 3 hours).
The next day…
- Take your Christmas ham, and remove any remaining cloves.
- Place in a large stock pot with chopped vegies and soaked lentils
- Finely chop or process your onion and garlic. (I was really lazy and chucked them in a food processor)
- Add the bay leaf, and some pepper.
- Cover completely with water (approx 2 – 3 litres should be enough)
- Bring to boil, then turn down to a simmer, for about 3 hours. You’ll need to check it every hour or so, to give it a stir and check that there’s enough water.
- After 3 hours, remove the ham bone. Take the bone and remove the meat, and chop it finely. Discard rind/skin, gristle and bones.
- Add the chopped ham to the soup.
- Turn heat up to medium, bring to a slow boil and reduce. Check seasoning.
- Once you’ve reached the thickness you like, you’re ready to serve!