Like I've mentioned previously, I'm a recovering vegetarian. As a vegetarian, I thought split pea soup was good. As a meatatarian, I find the ham makes a world of difference in the depth of flavor in split pea soup. This recipe is a conglomeration a few recipes and a few additions of my own.
There are moments when your child (or someone else) reminds you that your child is maturing and growing up. I had a moment like that when I saw a picture of our daughter (who was about 15 months old) eating tomato soup at day care. I thought they were crazy to feed her soup, considering most if it would run down her arm and then my poor baby would be starving because she wasn't getting enough lunch and how dare they! They I put the brakes on my brain and realized the day care staff wouldn't let her starve; they'd simply refill her bowl until she was done eating. (Note: Moms tend to panic from time to time. It is normal and expected. Any mother who says she hasn't panicked about something that turned out to be insignificant is a liar, liar pants on fire.) It was then that I realized our daughter was gaining momentum in the change from baby to little girl. Now she enjoys a wide variety of soup; one of her favorites is the following split pea soup recipe. The first time she had it, she took a bite (I leave most of the "soup" behind and give her the chunks) and proclaimed "MMMMM!" with wide eyes and a satisfied grin.
1 bag (2 c) green split peas
8 cups chicken broth
2 lb ham bone (with a good amount of meat)
2 carrots (thinly sliced) (can use a few handfuls of baby carrots instead of big carrots)
3 celery ribs (thinly sliced)
2 medium onions (thinly sliced)
1 medium potato (peeled and finely diced)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Rinse and sort split peas.
In large pot, combine the broth, split peas, onions, and ham bone. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover the pot and bring to light boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, sauté the carrots, potato, and celery in 2T butter and garlic in a medium size pan.
Remove the ham bone from pot and then remove the meat from the bone. Dice the meat and return it to the pot. Add the sautéed veggies. Simmer (uncovered) for 30-40 minutes or until the veggies are tender.