|1||tablespoon vegetable oil|
|2||slices cooked ham, coarsely chopped|
|1||leek, thinly sliced|
|2||cloves garlic, finely chopped|
|1||stalk celery, finely chopped|
|2||carrots, finely chopped|
|1||pound (2 cups) green split peas|
|Salt and black pepper, to taste|
|Pinch of crushed red pepper, or to taste|
1. In a soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil. Add the ham and cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes or until it begins to brown. Remove from the pot. Add the leek, garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaf, and thyme. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
2. Add the hambone, split peas, water, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and set the cover on askew. Simmer for 1 to 1½ hours or until the peas are almost pureed.
3. Meanwhile, place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and turn off heat. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until they are no longer hot. Peel the eggs and chop coarsely.
4. Remove the bay leaf and thyme from the pot. Transfer the hambone to a plate; cool slightly. Remove any meat left on the bone. Chop it coarsely and return to the pot. Return the soup to a simmer and taste for seasoning. Add more salt or red pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and garnish with hard-cooked eggs. Sydney Oland