The recent cold weather has put me in a soup-making mood. Here’s one that’s a family favorite. It’s also a great way to use a ham bone left over from a special occasion because you get a main dish with lots of flavor but very little fat. (Bones can also be purchased at shops which specialize in sliced ham.)

If you don’t have a ham bone, you can buy a large ham slice, cut the meat into bite-sized chunks, and use them, along with the small bone, in the soup. Another alternative is to use two pork hocks, although these will make soup saltier.

Note that I’ve combined split peas with beans and barley, which is more interesting than straight split peas.

This soup is even more flavorful when reheated. Individual bowls can be microwaved. For the whole pot, stir carefully during heating to prevent the split peas from sticking to the bottom. If the soup has thickened in the refrigerator, thin with a little water during reheating.

13 cups of water
1 package (16 ounces) split peas, picked over and rinsed
1 meaty ham bone, 1 large ham slice, or 2 pork hocks
1/4 cup pearl barley
1 cup dry navy beans, picked over and rinsed
2 bay leaves
3 beef bouillon cubes, or more as needed
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 large celery stalks, including leaves, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. In a large, heavy pot, combine the water with the split peas, ham bone (or pork hocks or meat from the ham slice), barley, and beans. Add the bay leaves, 3 bouillon cubes, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and celery seed. Note that if a ham slice has been used, cut the meat into bite sized pieces before adding to the pot.) Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and lower the heat.
  2. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. As the mixture thickens, lower the heat and stir more frequently to prevent the split peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If the soup does not taste robust enough, add one or two more bouillon cubes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. During cooking, periodically skim off any fat from the top of the soup with a large flat spoon and discard. Also check to make sure the soup is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. When the beans are tender, remove and discard the bay leaves. If pork hocks have been used, remove and discard them. Remove and reserve the ham bone, if using. Meanwhile, skim any additional fat off the top of the soup with a large shallow spoon and discard.
  5. If a ham bone has been used, cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and return it to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil again. Stir well before serving.

Makes 12 to 14 servings.

My latest release is Toran Unbound.

Toran Bladewielder’s life was upended when a battle injury forced him to leave his order — the Holy Defenders of the Gods. It is upended again when he catches a thief pilfering food from the warehouse he is guarding. Although the miscreant turns out to be a beautiful woman, his duty is to hand her over to the authorities.

But when he discovers she is a slave who escaped from a ship in the harbor, his sense of right and wrong urges him to hide her.

Desperate to maintain her freedom, Farah will do anything escape the clutches of her cruel master — even seduce a man whose sexual innocence and moral decency are clear to her.

But as she angles to keep Toran on her side, their relationship heats up. Neither expected to ever find love, yet the intensity between them builds — until Lord Camari’s men find Farah and drag her back to him for punishment. Can Toran rescue her, and is there any way for these unlikely lovers can forge a lasting relationship?

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About Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.  She also writes the Unbound series for Changeling Press.  View website

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