Dec. 29, 2002 – The traditional base for New Year's kallaloo was the bone left over from the Christmas ham. Like kallaloo, beans and peas are said to bring good luck in the coming year when eaten on New Year's Eve or Day. Combine that ham bone with a bag of green split peas and stir up a soup that tastes delicious — good luck or not.
Dried beans and peas are quite healthful foods. They are salt, fat and cholesterol free and are full of fiber that can help lower blood cholesterol. The are indications that the phytochemicals in dried beans and peas help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diverticulosis, diabetes and constipation.
Dried beans and peas in bagged form are the most healthful, as they don't contain the fats and/or salts sometimes found in canned varieties. The downside is that it takes a long time to cook dried beans. The advantage of split peas is that they cook more quickly and don't require presoaking.
Some recipes call for you to puree the split peas after they have simmered with the ham bone and seasoning vegetables. I don't do this, as I like the chunks of vegetables visible on my spoon. The recipe here contains greater quantities of vegetables than most.
An advantage of this dish is that you can make a big potful and enjoy leftovers for two or three days. Serve it the first day piping hot with fresh bread or rolls. The second day, combine it with sandwiches to make a meal. The third day, serve the soup as an appetizer at dinner. It's delicious any way you enjoy it, and maybe even lucky, too.
New Year's Split Pea and Ham Bone Soup
1 lb. bag of green split peas, dried
1 meaty ham bone
10 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped, including the leaves
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Place peas, ham bone and water into a large soup pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Simmer 30 to 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Remove ham bone. Trim meat from bone, dice and return meat to the pot. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot.
Serves 8. Per serving: 150 calories, 2 gms fat (12 percent fat calories), 10 mg cholesterol, 597 mg sodium.
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