1 pound dried split peas
2 ham shanks (or 1 ham hock and 1 pound of diced ham)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
8 cups water
Cover with water (2 inches) and soak peas 8 hours or overnight in large pot. Drain peas and set aside.
In large pot over medium heat melt butter. Add onions and cook stirring frequently until nearly translucent. Add carrots and celery and cook until soft (about 3 minutes). Add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute.
Add ham shank and ham and cook stirring until ham begins to brown. Add drained peas, salt pepper, pepper flakes. Add 8 cups of water, bay leaf and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium low heat until peas are tender. (1-1/2 hours). Add more water as needed.
Remove bay leaf and discard. Remove shanks, separate meat from bone, dice ham, discard bone and return ham to pot.