My friend Cherry often makes ‘lucky’ food on New Years Day. Seems like it’s often black eyed peas in some form or another. I remembered that this year, but I don’t know if I’ve ever had black eyed peas. I started looking for recipes, and decided I wasn’t sure. So I looked for other lucky foods, and it seems like the color green is good (the color of money, hence prosperity), pork and fish are good (because they move forward), and chicken and lobster are bad (because they scratch or walk backwards), and you want to go forward in the new year. Also, beans and peas are good luck (perhaps because they look a bit like coins).
New Years Eve is my birthday, and one of the gifts I received this year was The New Basics Cookbook, which is an old favorite. I used my last copy so much that it fell apart, and entire sections were missing, so I was very glad to receive a new copy. Since my cookbook was sitting around, I thought to open it up and see if they had a good split pea and ham soup. I adore split pea and ham soup. I wasn’t sure if Ted and Maya would like it as much as I did, but we all loved it. Delicious, smokey, and smooth.
Split Pea and Ham Soup
- 1 lb dried green split peas
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 5 cups water
- 1 meaty ham bone, or 2 smoked ham hocks
- 2 ribs celery, leaves included, diced
- 3 tblsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/2 tsp crumbled dried tarragon leaves
- 4 tblsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup diced peeled carrots
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 leek (white part only), rinsed and sliced
- 1 cup slivered fresh spinach leaves
- 2 tblsp dry sherry
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse the split peas in a strainer, and then combine them with the stock and water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil.
- Add the ham bone (I used smoked ham hocks, which my butcher cracked for me), celery, 1 tblsp of parsley, and the tarragon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the carrots, onion, and leak. Cook until the vegetables are wilted, 10 minutes. Add them to the soup pot, along with the spinach. Simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat. Remove the ham bone, and shred the meat from the bone, removing any excess fat. Return the meat to the soup.
- Add the sherry, pepper, and remaining 2 tblsp parsley. Heat through, and serve immediately.
Right about when I had started cooking, Ted came in and said he wanted to go see Black Swan. I was all for that, but if I started dinner after we got home, we wouldn’t eat until 10pm. So I got the soup through step 3, and then just turned off the heat. When we came home, I shredded the meat, and then used my immersion blender to smooth it out a bit (though not completely). Then heated the soup up, and finished it off with sherry, pepper, and parsley. It was a delicious, warm, lovely meal. I suspect we won’t be waiting until next New Years to try this one again.