In my revised cookbook, I suddenly ended up with an entire chapter dedicated to Dwarves; this soup found a home there. Way back before that pesky Balrog moved in, I’ll bet that Dwarf chefs probably appreciated large slabs of meat, and I have a feeling that hams would have been mighty popular.
You can always add a little water or broth, if the soup becomes too thick as a leftover. This is a great dish for cold weather, and goes well with any sort of bread product you can imagine. Around the holidays, I often purchase a large spiral-sliced ham, which leaves you with the perfect bone to make up this soup.
Greenway Split Pea Soup
I’m speaking as Barliman Butterbur here:
“Serving as many meaty platters as we do, here at the Pony, we always end up with ham bone leftovers. Then, of course, we sometimes have extra cabbage around even though our coleslaw is a bestseller (one day, I’ll have to share that recipe with you…). We never want to waste anything and we also happen to love a good old split pea soup around here. This is named for the road leading to Bree; travelers often need a hearty bowl of piping hot soup after a long trip…”
- 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
- 3-4 cups onions, diced
- 1 pound split peas, rinsed and sorted
- 1 very meaty ham bone ***
- 1½ cups celery, cut into ¼” slices
- 1½ cups carrots, peeled and cut into ¼” slices
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled (or not, depending on the variety you use) and cut into ½” cubes
- 4 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dry marjoram (or 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, minced)
- ½ teaspoon salt
In a 6-quart saucepan, combine the broth, onions, peas, and ham bone. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes. Turn the bone over halfway through cooking. Remove the bone (brush off any stray onions and peas and return them to the pot) and place it in a bowl to cool off. Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan; bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove as much meat as you can from the bone and chop coarsely. You should end up with anywhere from 2 to 4 cups of meat. Add this to the soup and raise heat to medium. Cook, uncovered for 15-20 minutes, until your vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally. Blend 3 cups until smooth and add this back to the saucepan. Adjust seasonings, if desired, but be careful doing so since you can’t really tell how salty your ham might be. Cover and refrigerate leftovers; do not freeze, because your potatoes will end up mushy. It will keep well in the fridge for a week or so. Serves 8-10.
*** Use a bone from a 10-12 pound ham, which will probably end up weighing about 2 pounds. I usually use a spiral-cut ham and leave quite a bit of meat on the bone.
Astrid Tuttle Winegar
Author, Cooking for Halflings & Monsters: 111 Comfy, Cozy Recipes for Fantasy-Loving Souls