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Split Pea Soup

SERVES 10 TO 12

Take an almost bare ham bone and make a delicious pea soup. The idea seemed so impossible to me when I was a child, but my mother had a way of making everything stretch, even a bone could be turned into a meal. For starters, you need a meaty ham bone. So the next time you buy a ham on the bone, save the bones, or freeze them and when you have enough, make this wonderful thick soup.

Ingredients

1 pound split peas, washed and sorted

3 quarts water

1 large ham bone

4 large onions, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano

2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 bay leaf

3 1/2 cups sliced carrots

3 cups finely chopped celery

Directions

In a deep pot, combine the peas, water, ham bone, onion, bouillon, and the seasonings. Simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the ham bone and trim off all the meat; chop it finely and return the meat to the pot. Stir in the carrots and celery and simmer the soup, uncovered, for about 2 1/2 hours or until the soup is thick.

Serve hot with crusty bread.

Note: Dried oregano may be used when fresh is not available.

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