I used to always take the shortcut of using the boxed or canned broths when I made soup. Then, I read two interesting and, sometimes contradictory, articles on making your own stock. The first one was Michael Ruhlman's and he proposed making it in the oven. It seemed like a much simpler method than simmering on the stove all day so I tried it with the turkey at Thanksgiving. I also read an article called "Stock Tips" by Janet Fletcher of the San Francisco Chronicle. Between the two articles, I came up with my own method - a mishmash of everything I'd read.
I L o v e H o m e m a d e S t o c k. It is completely worth the effort.
Just this week, I made ham stock with two ham bones I'd frozen a few weeks ago. I guess it would be more honest to say that I helped make it. MrWurdi stepped up and pitched in with this one. I've been working way too much and he picked up the slack, repeatedly, on the making of the ham stock.
Today, I wanted to make split pea soup so I consulted about forty recipes and came up with a recipe I could almost call my own. I probably need to give credit to those other forty but I couldn't tell you what ideas came from which cookbook, website, or recipe card so I'll just say, "Thanks, everyone!"
I would like to note, for the record, that I did not talk to Duchess Jane while making this soup and, so, managed to avoid scalding my face.
Here's what I did:
Ima Wurdibitsch's Split Pea Soup
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 big handful of baby-cut carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice***
1 pound dried split peas
About 3 quarts of ham stock
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup diced ham
In a large heavy pan, saute onions and carrots in oil until they get a bit soft. Then, add the peas, stock, and bay leaves. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about three hours. When the peas get soft, run your immersion blender (finally got one!) through it a bit to let some of the peas thicken the soup. Add the diced ham and continue simmering and stirring, until the ham is heated through. Discard the bay leaves.
This recipe fits the criteria for the Weight Watcher's Core Plan.
Here's a picture of the finished soup. It's in a really small bowl so, for size reference the carrot pieces are about a quarter-inch big.
*** If you're not familiar with the baby-cut carrot conspiracy or the response from the World Carrot Museum, click the links!