Smoky Split Pea Soup

This filling soup is yet another way to make use of a meaty leftover ham bone. If you prefer a vegetarian version omit the ham and start with vegetable broth.

2     Tbsp        olive oil
1/2  small       onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2     medium  carrots, very finely diced (1 cup)
1     large        celery stalk with leaves, very finely diced (1/2 cup)
1     tsp           salt, divided
1/2  tsp           black pepper
1/2  tsp           thyme
1     pound      split peas, rinsed and picked over
8     cups         Fat-free Ham Broth
2     cups         shredded baked ham

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Saute onion, carrot and celery until the edges begin to color. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper and cook one minute longer. Add all the remaining ingredients except the ham.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes, then add the ham.
3. Uncover and continue to cook for another hour on low heat, stirring occasionally at first, then more frequently as the peas soften. The more frequently the soup is stirred the smoother it will become. If necessary, thin the soup with a little more broth or water.
4. Add the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, stir well, then adjust the seasoning to taste.

Servings: 8

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