Split pea and ham soup is a simple and hearty soup that's a meal in itself and has stood the test of time! It was popular among the working class in nineteenth-century England, but a soup made from legumes is mentioned in Greek literature and was sold by vendors in the streets of Athens as early as 400 BC.
The soup contains dried peas, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, pepper, butter, potatoes, broth, and ham. Here's another tasty thing you can do with leftover ham!
This savory soup brings back happy memories from my childhood. It is comfort food, but it's also very nutritious! It's packed with fiber and protein. It's quicker than you think to make! You do not need to soak the dried peas before cooking, so this soup can be ready in about an hour.
The ingredients for split pea soup are simple and basic, and there are many ways to make it if you have a meaty ham bone left over from dinner; lucky you! Use that as a starter for your soup. I searched for a ham bone or ham shanks in several grocery stores without success, so I settled for a package of ham hocks to get some of the smoky flavor infused into the peas.
My foodie brother lives near a big city in another part of the country, but when we compared notes on the availability of ham shanks, he said he had no luck finding them in the meat departments of stores where they live. Ham shanks are much meatier than ham hocks.
I started the soup by putting a pound of split peas in my large LeCrueset Dutch Oven/stockpot with a couple of bay leaves, freshly cracked pepper, and enough water almost to cover the hocks. I simmered the hocks with the peas, turning them over once for about thirty minutes, then removed the hocks and the bay leaves from the pot and set them aside.
While the peas and hocks were simmering, I chopped the carrots, onion, and celery fine and made a mirepoix (say it meer-PWAH) in a separate skillet by sauteeing them and the minced garlic in butter until they were fragrant and tender. Please include the celery leaves because they have an abundance of flavor!
Mirepoix is a mixture of finely diced vegetables cooked in butter or oil at a low temperature to sweeten them, not caramelize them. These slow-cooked vegetables make a delightful flavor base for many soups or casseroles. The difference in how the veggies taste when you do this step is amazing!
Add water and the Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base, the Knorr Select Vegetable Soup Base or their vegetable bouillon cubes, and a couple of potatoes you have peeled and diced. Now add the vegetables to the soup pot with the split peas. Let that simmer for about thirty minutes or until the peas are tender.
I am not paid to endorse the Knorr or the Better Than Bouillon brands, but they have become my go-to products for making great soup. I like how the chicken and vegetable broths combine to create an amazingly tasty base for this old-fashioned split pea soup.
I was also extremely pleased with the small Kentucky Legend ham I chose for this recipe. I added about 2 cups of the diced high-quality smoky ham to the soup just before serving it because I wanted it to be really meaty for our main dish.
If you're lucky to have a nice meaty ham bone, you will probably have all the ham you need and won't need to buy any more ham for your split pea soup.
The peas will break down and thicken the soup. You can adjust the thickness by adding more water or broth if you want. I topped each bowl with homemade croutons and served the soup with a loaf of crusty bread and cheese cubes.
We shift into soup mode when the nights get cooler and the days get shorter. I love how I can cook once, and we can eat twice when I make soup. Some of our most popular soup recipes are Instant Pot Beef Noodle Soup and White Bean And Italian Sausage Soup With Spinach And Parmesan. What are your favorite soups?
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