Tag Archives: smoked ham

Split Pea Soup with Virginia Ham

Seasoned to Taste - Split Pea Soup with Virginia Ham

Grant and I are spending the day “de-cluttering” – cleaning out closets, making trips to the dump and painting the stairwell. While it is sunny and mild in our neck of North Carolina today, I hear our friends to the north are getting quite the snow storm that is keeping folks homebound.

Thick soups are perfect for those surprise snowy days, when all you want to hear is the hiss of your radiator and blips of soup bubbles working on the stove. I made this soup in an effort to use some leftover smoked Virginia ham … and try out the new immersion blender that my mom gave me! So excited. And it was splendid.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, but I added the meat – seems wrong to have split pea soup without some sort of ham. While I didn’t use a ham hock as is traditional, I think the Virginia ham offered a comparable flavor with plenty of meat (something a ham hock lacks).

I have reduced the amount of rosemary because I found it overpowering – add more if you love it.

Split Pea Soup with Virginia Ham


  • 1 1/2 c. dried split peas
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 c. chopped onion (one large, I used sweet onion)
  • 1 c. diced carrot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 T minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T soy sauce (for salt)
  • 4 c. water or chicken stock
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • 1 pound diced smoked ham (or substitute)

Wash beans. Cover with water and set aside.

Heat 1 tsp oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot and bay leaf, saute 5 min. Add garlic, rosemary, paprika and pepper, stirring, and cook 3 min. Add tomato paste and soy sauce; cook until liquid evaporates, scraping bottom of the pan to deglaze.

Drain peas. Add peas to Dutch oven, along with water/stock. Bring to a boil, adding another cup of water if needed to thin it. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 1 hour, stirring often. Discard bay leaf. Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend soup until pureed to your desired consistency – I didn’t want baby food.

Return Dutch oven to medium heat and add ham to warm through. Taste for seasonings.

To serve, spoon soup into big bowls and finish with a grating of Parm cheese and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Seasoned to Taste - Split Pea Soup with Virginia Ham

Goes very well with crusty bread and a simple oil-vinegar salad.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Chicken-andouille gumbo

I’ve been thinking recently about things that get better with time – from men to fine wine, the age element can turn a pretty good thing into a really great thing.

When my friend Merissa sent me this recipe a year ago, she warned not to eat it the day you make it. She said it gets much better the second day. But after smelling it cook for four hours, could you resist? Merissa first made this for a large group a year ago (photo above). I made it for a couple of hungry bellies last weekend.

The recipe takes roughly 4-5 hours, but saying it’s worth it is an understatement. First, you brown 4 lbs. of chicken thighs and two kinds of pork, during which Grant said the house smelled like cracklins (and that’s no complaint!). Then, you stir a dark mahogany roux for 25 minutes (a task made easier with a glass of wine in hand) and add a ton of onion, garlic and celery hearts (I omitted the green bell pepper because I hate it). A dash of spice here and a crunch of pepper there and it will bubble away for the next 2.5-3 hours.

I did not add gumbo file, because I didn’t know it existed until afterward, but of course you can add this classic gumbo flavoring, if you have it.

Served over rice, or with some buttered toast, this is delectable. And that was just the first day. The second day, the sauce is thicker and richer – spicier, more peppery, better seasoned, and just generally more gumbo-looking.

I adapted this to  my liking – feel free to improvise!

Chicken-Andouille Gumbo


  • 4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage
  • 1 lb. smoked ham
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • Heart of a celery cluster – small handful, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 (32 -oz.) boxes chicken broth (less sodium)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Hot cooked rice or cornbread
  • Sliced green onions, for topping

1. Cut first 3 ingredients into bite-size pieces. In batches, place meat in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and cook, stirring often, 20 minutes or until browned. Drain on paper towels. (you really don’t need to if you skim off the fat the next day). Wipe out Dutch oven with paper towels.

2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat, gradually whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 25 minutes or until it is a dark mahogany.

3. Stir in onions, celery and garlic; cook, stirring often, 18 to 20 minutes or until tender. Gradually add broth. Stir in chicken, sausage, ham, thyme, black pepper and paprika.

4. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in parsley . Remove from heat; serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish with green onion.

I can promise you will enjoy this, friends! Especially the day after… xoxo