Snert – Split Pea Soup
After you have cooked the ham, eaten the ham, used the left overs for ham sandwiches, ham and potato casserole, and in your morning omelet, you still have that lovely ham bone to use.
What my grandmother called “snert”, otherwise known as split pea soup, or ham and pea soup, is one of my favorite comfort foods. On cold winter nights, nothing beats the chill in the air than a piping hot bowl of snert. Chunks of ham with a velvety soup base combine to create a harmony of textures, tastes, and nutrition. The marrow in the ham bone gives the soup its rich velvety mouth feel and with the ham and peas, this thick soup is high in protein and fiber.
1 pound of split peas (green or yellow)
2 quarts of water
1 32 ounce box of chicken stock
1 large meaty ham bone
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning
Note: Traditional snert is made with green split peas, but I happen to really like using yellow split peas. I think they are much sweeter and cook more evenly than the green.
Pick over the peas looking for any small stones or imperfections. Put the peas and a covered dish and fill with enough water to cover the peas by a good three inches. Let the peas soak in the water overnight.
The next morning, drain and rinse the peas a few times. They will have swollen up and used most of the excess water which is a good thing.
Put the peas in a large stock pot along with the vegetables, water, chicken stock, spices, and ham bone.
Put the pot over a low heat and gradually bring up to a simmer. Let the pot simmer 2 1/2 hours or longer – one way I tell if it is done is to see if the marrow has “melted” from the bone. Stir occasionally so the peas don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
When the peas are mushy and the ham is literally falling off the bone, the soup is done. Remove the ham bone and pick off any meat that is left and put back into the pot. Salt and pepper to taste and serve hot. A dollop of sour cream on top is a wonderful addition as the sourness lends to the sweet and salty soup. Another great addition is to crumble crisp bacon on top as a garnish or even use homemade croutons!