There’s nothing like a bowl of hot soup on a crisp fall day, and Rosie has the recipe for a hot and tasty split pea soup that’s easy to make.
Some dishes never seem to go out of style, and this is one of them.
SPLIT PEA SOUP
8 oz. cooked cubed ham (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 ham bone
2 1/2 quarts ham stock
1 1/2 cups split green peas
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup sliced onion
4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
Place ham bone, stock, peas, seasonings and onion in large pan. Simmer 2 hours. Melt butter, add flour and blend. Add a small amount of soup stock and stir until smooth, then stir into soup to thicken slightly. Let cubes of ham heat in soup before serving. Makes 4 generous servings.
Modern adaptation: Ham hocks may be used in place of the ham bone. To make a ham stock boil the ham hocks or ham bones in water for approximately one to two hours. Chicken stock can be added to the ham stock or even used as a substitute for the ham stock. Cornstarch can also be used as a thickener instead of the flour.
No doubt Rosie would have loved to have had a crock pot in her day. Unfortunately, they didn’t exist at the time. In fact, I don’t recall my mother buying a crock pot until the early 1970s, and it was quite a novelty at the time. Pop something in, turn it on, go about your business, and by dinnertime, it’s done.
The other day someone posted a photo on Facebook about an easy way to prepare pork chops in the crock pot. I used to love bone in pork chops, but nowadays they are hard to find. My grocer doesn’t carry them, and the leaner, boneless pork chops are simply too dry for my taste, which means I rarely cook them anymore. That said, I thought I’d give this a try, so I added cream to mixture and gave it a shot. The results were surprisingly good.
CREAMY SLOW COOKED PORK CHOPS
6 to 8 pork chops
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons half and half or milk
1 package ranch dressing mix
Blend soup and half and half in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. Wash pork chops thoroughly and place half of them in the crock pot. Pour in half of the soup mixture. Stack remaining pork chops on top, and pour in remaining soup mixture. Top with ranch dressing mix. Turn the crock pot on low and cook for 4 to 6 hours. Serve over rice.
Here’s another delicious recipe from Rosie’s day that still tastes great today. I tested the recipe with white bread, as it was popular in Rosie’s time, but I’m sure it would taste just as good with whole wheat or multigrain bread, or whatever leftover bread you may happen to have.
CELERY STUFFED SPARERIBS
1 side spareribs (about 1½ lbs)
¼ cup diced salt pork or bacon fat
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
3 cups soft bread cubes
¾ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Fry the salt pork until crisp, then remove the pieces. Cook the onions in the fat for a few minutes, add the crisp salt pork, celery and bread cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the spareribs over the dressing in baking pan, sprinkle the outside with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and rub with flour. Place pan in 350º F oven uncovered and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until ribs are tender. Yield: 4 servings.
Modern adaptation: Sliced bacon can be substituted for salt pork. (Bacon fat is another name for bacon grease.) Chop 4 to 6 slices of bacon and fry in a skillet or frying pan. Add onions and continue preparing the dressing as instructed in the original recipe. To help keep the dressing from getting too dry add ¼ to ½ cup of water or chicken stock. Once the spareribs are placed in the baking dish decrease salt to 1 teaspoon, or, for more zing, use 1 teaspoon of celery salt. Bake as directed in the original recipe.
I once had a friend who loved sweet potatoes. I mean seriously loved them. So much so that she would have done nothing short of grabbing a steak knife and telling you to back off if you get too close to her sweet potatoes. Now that’s a food devotion. However, she wasn’t much of a cook, and when I began testing recipes for Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, I passed this one along to her as it’s easy to prepare, even for those who are, “kitchen challenged.” It’s also a nice dish for those who wax nostalgic for “holiday” meals over the course of the year.
HAM WITH SWEET POTATOES
1 ½ pounds sliced ham or shoulder
3 cups raw, sliced sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon margarine
Cut the ham or shoulder into pieces for serving. If the meat is very salty, parboil it in water and drain. Brown the meat lightly on both sides and arrange the pieces to cover the bottom of a baking dish. Spread the sliced sweet potatoes over the meat, sprinkle with sugar. Add hot water to melted margarine and pour over the sweet potatoes and meat. Cover the dish and bake slowly until the meat and sweet potatoes are tender, basting the sweet potatoes occasionally with the gravy. Toward the last, remove the lid and let the top brown well. Yields 6 servings.
Modern adaptation: Heat oven to 350°. Butter may be used instead of margarine. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for approximately one hour, basting the sweet potatoes occasionally as directed in the original recipe. After baking for one hour remove foil and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes have browned. Turkey ham may also be used, and the sugar can be decreased to one teaspoon.
I’ve never been much of a beer drinker myself, but I’ll grab a six-pack if I’m inviting friends over, and, like Rosie, if there’s a can or two left over, I’ll use it to create a wonderful dish. The one is easy to prepare and tastes delicious.
PORK CHOPS IN BEER GRAVY
4 to 6 thick cut pork chops
1 12 oz can of beer
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
tsp season salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Sprinkle pork chops with garlic powder, season salt and pepper, and cook in skillet with vegetable oil. Once chops are nicely brown remove and place in a baking dish. Pour soup and beer into the skillet, stir in pan drippings and heat to boiling. Pour over pork chops and bake for 1 hour. The gravy goes well with mashed potatoes.
Sometimes when you try something new in the kitchen you hit a home run and create something wonderful. This reminds me of the dishes I sometimes order at fancy Italian restaurants–only better.
ITALIAN STYLE PORK ROAST WITH MUSHROOM GRAVY
1 to 3 lb pork roast
2 packages fresh, sliced mushrooms, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt, (if desired)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously season pork roast with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Bake at 20 minutes per pound. Begin preparing gravy during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
Place butter and cooking oil in a large skillet or saute pan. Once butter is completely melted add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Stir frequently until onions and mushrooms are thoroughly cooked. Add flour and stir until all the flour is moistened. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once gravy is boiling reduce heat to a simmer and add seasonings and salt, (if desired.) Spoon over sliced pork and serve with pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes.