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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

French Canadian Split Pea Soup

Home canning is a year round venture in our home.  I've even canned foods in our RV when we had it and now at our vacation home.  When we arrived home from our vacation home the end of October there were a few good deals on produce.  I had spent a good three weeks without doing a lot of cooking so I was definitely in the mood to cook.  What many don't realize is, cooking is a stress releaser for me.  When I am stressed, I cook and quite frankly it doesn't matter what time of day it is.  If I get up at 3 AM and can't sleep, much to my husband's dismay, I am cooking.  The smells of me cooking wakes him up and of course he has to do a bit of taste testing.  I'm sure you can see where that is going :)

smoked ham
Our local Walmart had hams on for a decent price, not on sale but a good price.  I bought a Country Naturals smoked ham that has no preservative!  It was only 700 g compared to the less expensive per unit 900 g smoked ham with preservatives.  I wanted the smoked ham for French Canadian split pea soup that I planned on canning.

I am seriously a bit particular about my ingredients when home canning.  If I have to buy any ingredient that will be home canned, I want organic and preservative free, so chose the Country Naturals brand over the store brand that had preservatives in the ham even though the store brand was 900 g and less per unit than the Country Naturals brand.

French Canadian split pea soup
French Canadian split pea soup is simply delightful.  I always make it from scratch.  Habitat French Canadian split pea soup was on sale 796 ml can for 97¢, regular price $1.57.  I decided to can up a batch that would be every bit as convenient as the commercially canned version but without any additives and less expensive.  Now at 97¢ a can, it is hard to see where homemade would be less expensive, but it is.

I rummaged through the freezer to find the ham bone I had kept from a charcoal grilled ham.  A ham bone really brings out the flavour in French Canadian split pea soup.  The bone from a ham that has been charcoal grilled has an unbeatable hint of smokiness to the soup.  Ideally, dried whole yellow peas are preferred if you can find them but I use split peas as that is what is available in the grocery store.  I used a carrot and onion from the Ontario produce purchase.  I ended up with 10 - 500 ml jars of the soup at a total cost of $4.99 including the cost of the natural gas to run the canner.   It was just a little over a litre more of what I could have bought the soup on sale for.

French Canadian split pea soup is a warm, creamy, filling and comforting soup perfect for a winter evening meal.  It is quite filling and very inexpensive to make from scratch.  Serve with homemade sourdough bread  and a side salad for an easy meal.  I like canning this soup for an easy homemade convenience soup but it will freeze nicely as well.

French Canadian Split Pea Soup
modified from Ball Blue Book (2001) Pp. 61

900 g (2 lb) split yellow peas
16 c water
1 ham bone from charcoal smoked ham
1/2 lg Spanish onion
1 extra large carrot
1 bayleaf
1 tsp celery salt
1 1/2 c cooked ham

Bring the water, ham bone, bayleaf and split peas to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer until the beans are tender.  Remove 2 c of the peas and set aside.  Stir in the chopped onion, carrot, and celery salt.  Cut the ham into small cubes and set aside.  Cook the soup until the carrots are tender.  Purée the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.  Stir in the reserved split peas and cooked ham.  Ladle into hot prepared jars.  Place lids and rings on the jars.  Tighten rings finger tight if using the metal snap lids.  Tighten rings finger tight then turn back 1/4 inch if using Tattler lids or glass inserts.  Process in pressure canner at 10 lb pressure for 75 minutes at altitudes up to 1,000 feet above sea level.  Adjust the processing if at higher altitudes using the altitude adjustment chart.  Remove from canner.  Do not adjust rings if using metal snap lids.  If using Tattler lids or glass inserts, fully tighten the rings immediately after removing jars from the canner.  Let the jars cool undisturbed for 24 hours.  Remove the rings and test the sea.  Wash rings and jars then dry well.  Rings can be put on the jars loosely for storage if desired.

Yield: 10 - 500 ml jars

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