Split Pea with Ham Soup

1 pound dried split peas, picked through, rinsed and drained
1 ½ pound ham bone
8 cups cold water
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, diced
2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

1. In a large pot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots and potatoes cook, stirring until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic cook another minute.
2. Add in the peas, ham, water, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
3. Bring to a boil then simmer for 1 ½ hours or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove the bay leaf and the ham bone. Cut off any remaining meat, chop up and return meat to the soup. Return soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.