SPLIT-PEA SOUP WITH FRIED COUNTRY HAM
SERVES 8 (MAIN COURSE; 12 CUPS)
ACTIVE TIME:30 MIN START TO FINISH:3 1/2 HR
Gourmet Magazine OCTOBER 2008
Good old split-pea soup moves up in the world when a smattering of crisp, salty, fried country ham is sprinkled on top. The ham, leftover from chef Andrea Reusing’s recipe for Braised Chicken with Smoked Ham, Chestnuts, and Ginger, also flavors the smooth soup itself, which is reduced to deepen its rich, satisfying flavor.
1/2 lb country ham, divided
3 1/2 qts water
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 lb dried split peas (2 1/4 cups), picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Simmer half of ham with water, onion, celery, carrots, and peas in a deep heavy 6-qt pot, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until meat and peas are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Discard ham.
Purée soup in a blender in 4 batches until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to pot and boil, stirring often, until reduced to about 3 qt. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Finely chop remaining ham. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook ham, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Serve soup with fried ham sprinkled on top.
COOKS’ NOTE: Soup is best when made 1 day ahead (to give flavors time to develop). Chill (covered once cool). Reheat and thin with water if necessary.