“I liked standing near the edge with my shoulders back, my fingers dusted with soil. I would lift my face to the wind and inhale the loamy musk of the Outside as Sivo worked, stabbing at the ground, cursing his undernourished greens, radishes, and beets. Occasionally peas would flourish, and that was a good day when we would actually have pea soup. Perla would make it with bits of rabbit meat and Sivo swore it was nearly as tasty as when his mother made it with ham.”
Reign of Shadow by Sophie Jordan, 3/5 stars.
Reign of Shadow follows Luna through the kingdom of Relhok, a kingdom enduring a perpetual eclipse. While the novel had a strong fairy tale feel, it was its own story (vs. a re-telling), which I found refreshing. An entertaining read and one that Brice and I both had fun reading.
Brice and I actually did a book swap. I read The Name of the Wind (review and recipe coming soon) and he read Reign of Shadows. At some point, I hollered at him to keep an eye out for potential recipes. Insert his gasp. “They talk about split pea soup! Now we have to have it!”
Some context on his exuberance. Brice is obsessed with ham. Ham, however, freaks me out. Just a little bit. I’ll eat it. It’s just never going to be something I opt to have. Or will go out of my way to buy/cook. But, if it’s for the blog…
So I made a ham-based split pea soup for Brice. And added some mint and lemon to brighten up this usually dense dish.
It was easy to whip together. I first made a full-on ham dinner, again for Brice’s sake. After slicing all the ham away from the bone, I had the perfect base for a ham stock. Note: we weren’t terribly diligent about cutting all of the meat away from the bone. It made for a more flavorful stock.
I did everything on the stove, but both the stock and soup could easily be thrown into a crockpot. Speaking of things being “thrown in,” that’s basically the rule of the ham stock. Throw in what you have available that will give it good flavor. I used items that were already going into the soup — lemon zest and 1/2 of one of the lemons that was used for the soup, potato peelings from the potato that eventually went into the soup, ends of the celery that went into the soup, 1/2 the onion that went into the soup. The best part was it meant all my prep work was done when it came time to make the split pea soup.
Lemon-y Fresh Split Pea Soup
1 ham bone
1 bunch of fresh mint
Cleaned ends of celery (the stuff that you won’t be using for the soup)
Peelings of 1 potato
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf
Zest of 2 lemons
12 cups of water
- Combine all of the stock ingredients into a large stock pot. Heat on high until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and simmer for approximately 2 hours.
- Place your colander over a large bowl. (Do NOT dump your stock down the drain when you strain it!) After draining the stock, strain two times into a large bowl.
- Set the stock aside. It will have yielded about 9 cups of stock. If there was meat left on the hambone, you can put it aside and cut away the leftover meat to serve with the soup. (Brice likes this part, so I let him have it all to himself!)
- If you are making your soup on a separate day, the stock will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. It also freezes well.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1 yukon potato, diced
1 pound dried split peas, thoroughly rinsed
2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
9 cups of ham stock
Juice of 1 and 1/2 lemons
1/2 cup of milk
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large stock pot on medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and potato and saute for 10 minutes. Add the dried split peas, stirring for one minute.
2. Add the stock, mint leaves, thyme, and salt to your vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to medium or medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes and split peas are soft.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until completely smooth. You can use a normal blender for this step if you don’t have an immersion blender. Finally, stir in the milk.
This soup makes excellent leftovers and will keep for 5-6 days in the fridge.
Best of luck avoiding the dwellers!