Yummy, filling, comforting, cheap soup! I have made this with both bacon hocks and ham bones, both make good soup but I found the ham bone soup wasn't as smoky and salty so I recommend adding a few bacon bones if using one of these.
Pea and Ham Soup
400g yellow split peas
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery, stalks finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 ham/bacon hock or meaty ham bone and a few bacon bones
1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)
pepper to taste
2 - 3 L water
Salt, to taste
Place split peas, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, ham bone/hock, bay leaf, pepper and water in a stockpot or very large saucepan (at least 5 L capacity).
Place pot over high heat and bring liquid to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low so the liquid is simmering. Cover pan leaving lid ajar. During cooking, use a spoon to skim the froth from the surface of the soup. Stir often, especially towards the end of the cooking time, to prevent the split peas sticking to the bottom of the pot.
After 2 hours simmering when the peas are turning to sludge, use tongs or two forks to remove the ham bone/hock from the pot. Leave the soup simmering uncovered. Set the ham bone/hock aside until cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes). Discard the bay leaf.
Remove the meat from the bone, discarding the bone and fat. Roughly chop meat and return to the soup.
Stir soup and taste to check whether salt is needed. Soup can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.