A steaming bowl of hot pea soup, dotted with bits of smoky ham, is a great comfort food on a cold winter day. Pea soup freezes well so file this one with your make-ahead recipes.
1. Combine split peas, onion, garlic, bouillon cubes, bay leaf and water in 8-quart pot. Bring to boiling, breaking up cubes with wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 1 hour.
2. Stir mixture in pot. Add ham, celery, carrot and thyme. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour or until desired smoothness. Add black pepper and liquid hot-pepper sauce.
3. Remove fresh thyme sprigs if using, bay leaf and garlic cloves. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Stir in pimiento. Serve warm. Makes 10 cups.