This is a very easy soup, but it does have to simmer quite a while, so it;s best to make it when you've got some time and you're puttering about the house. It makes quite a bit, more than enough for 4 dinner servings served with biscuits or cornbread and a "nice green salad". We've got a joke about a nice green salad in our family, I mean really, why would you serve a green salad that wasn't nice? It was just my Mom giving her salesmanship spin to the healthy part of the meal, now I do the same thing to my kids. But, I digress...
If you have Vegetarians, or Vegans, at your house, just substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth or just water. Oh, yeah, and of course, skip the chopped ham too!
1 16oz. bag of dried split peas
2-3 carrots, diced
1 large onion, or 2 medium, diced
3-4 stalks of celery, diced (I prefer the 'inside' small ones with the leaves for this)
1 lb of chopped ham
1 32 oz. box of chicken broth
Water, as needed
Salt & Pepper
Chopped Parsley, optional
Dump the dried split peas into your soup pot, add about a quart of water and the 32 oz (1 quart!) of chicken stock. Dice and add the onions, carrots and celery. Bring this to a boil and then reduce the soup to medium low and simmer. Check on it every once and a while and add more water as needed. The dried split peas will start to cook and swell absorbing the liquid. It took me about 2 hours to get this mixture cooked down to a richly textured soup and the peas completely cooked through and starting to breakdown. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to your taste. I found I needed to add about 2 tsp. of salt and LOTS of freshly ground pepper.