My family knows me as the “save the bones” guy. My sister-in-law Rena, who would never actually use the bones, always pretends she she wants them, then “reluctantly” gives in and lets me take them.
Case in point – we had Christmas day dinner at Ted and Rena’s this year, and they made a gorgeous ham roast. After carving, we had this wonderful bone left over:
…which I just had to bring with me. After Rena finished giving me a hard time, she handed me the gallon zip-top baggie she was hiding behind her back.
The moment I saw the bone, I knew it was destined for ham and split pea soup. I had to pull the knobby part of the bone apart – it was a big knuckle, and made the bone too big for my pot. That said, don’t worry if the bone just barely fits – this recipe will work as long as you can get the pot closed. 2
This recipe uses the ham bone to season the peas as it cooks. Essentially, we’re making ham stock in the pot, infusing the peas with smoked pork flavor. (Smoked pork and beans are an awesome combination – that’s why they show up together in so many recipes.)
Also, instead of using a natural pressure release, I tried out Kenji Alt’s trick of quick releasing the pressure – which causes the contents of the pressure cooker to boil vigorously, pureeing some of the soft beans and thickening the soup. It worked perfectly; I was able to skip the “puree 2 cups of beans” step I usually have to add to the end of a bean soup recipe.
My wife was thrilled with this one – she told me she ate it for a week, pulling frozen leftovers from the freezer every day for lunch, and asked for more when it was gone. Looking for a great recipe for a cold winter night?
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Ham and Yellow Split Pea Soup
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker)
Pressure Cooker Ham and Yellow Split Pea Soup recipe. Bean soup from a leftover hambone, ready under an hour from the pressure cooker.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 celery rib, minced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices (or 4 ounces pre-sliced carrots)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 hambone with clinging meat (from a half ham)
- 1 pound yellow split peas, sorted and rinsed
- 6 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Saute the aromatics; add beans, hambone, and water to the pot: Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic to the pressure cooker pot, and then sprinkle with the salt and red pepper flakes. Saute until the onion softens, about five minutes. Add the bone to the pot, then the peas, and cover with the water. (It’s OK if the end of the bone pokes up out of the water.)
- Pressure cook the soup: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, bring the cooker to high pressure, and pressure cook for 20 minutes in an electric pressure cooker, or 18 minutes in a stovetop PC. (On the Instant Pot, use the Manual setting, and set the cook time for 20 minutes.) When the cooking time is over, quick release the pressure. (If the quick-released steam starts spitting, close the quick release valve and let the pressure come down naturally for a few minutes before starting the quick release again.) Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid any hot steam.
- Shred, season and serve: Fish the hambone out of the pot and pull the ham from the hambone, discarding any pieces of fat or gristle. Shred and chop the ham, then stir the ham into the pot, and discard the hambone – it gave its all. Add fresh ground black pepper, and salt if it seems to need it. (The soup will already be seasoned by the salty ham; I usually add a teaspoon of kosher salt to the pot.) Serve.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- No ham bone? Substitute 2 meaty ham hocks.
- No pressure cooker? No worries. Cook everything in a dutch oven with a lid. Follow the instructions until step 2. For step 2, cover the pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 90 minutes. Continue with step 3, and follow the rest of the recipe as written.
- You can freeze the ham bone for up to 4 months before cooking – the recipe works as written, but add an extra five minutes to the time under pressure to warm up the frozen hambone.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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