Split Pea and Ham Soup

Updated on January 11, 2018
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Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over twenty years and has cooked on multiple television stations, including Food Network.

Rich, hearty and satisfying, split pea and ham soup is simple and easy to make. A winter family favorite, it's an inexpensive and delicious supper.
Rich, hearty and satisfying, split pea and ham soup is simple and easy to make. A winter family favorite, it's an inexpensive and delicious supper.

Have You Tried This Recipe?

5 stars from 1 rating of Split Pea with Ham Soup

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 40 min
Yields: 8 servings

Winter had really locked in here in the Smokey Mountains—hitting about 5 degrees for several days in a row. That calls for some seriously hearty comfort food.

Luckily, I made a ham several nights ago and had some leftovers in the fridge, along with a fresh batch of ham stock to use up. A few veggies and a little simmering later, we had wonderfully hearty, filling, and warming split pea and ham soup.

The first note I'd like to give you is that you don't need ham stock at all. If you have it, great! If not, it's great! Seriously. It's fine. Use chicken stock or just plain water. If I don't have ham stock, I'll usually use plain water. With the ham stock, the ham flavor comes through really well and becomes the dominant note. Without it, you have the less rich, but equally luscious flavor of the veggies and split peas coming through more strongly. So it's really your preference.

This batch also feeds a crowd—you'll easily get 8 generous and filling servings from this recipe.

Dried beans and peas do take a little simmering—you can shorten this time by soaking the split peas in hot water for an hour or so before cooking, but usually I would just as soon throw it together when I'm ready for it. Unlike other beans, split peas can't really take an overnight soak—that ends up being too much.

Simmer until the beans are tender—and this can be your preference as well. I like the beans to have some texture and to keep their individual shapes. But I know just as many folks who like them much softer, so the soup ends up with a creamier texture. That's fine too—you can even puree part of the soup if you like.

I think this soup is perfect with a big salad full of leafy greens, and a loaf of crusty bread. Or maybe a skillet of cornbread—whatever you choose, you'll love this seriously warming split pea soup with ham!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium white onion, small dice
  • 1 stalk celery, small dice
  • 1 carrot, small dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound green split peas
  • 1 quart ham broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium sized soup pot. Saute onions, carrots, celery and bay leaf in the olive oil for about ten minutes, or until nice and fragrant.
  2. Add the split peas to the sauteed vegetables. Add ham broth and water, kosher salt and diced ham. Bring pot to a simmer, and simmer for just about an hour and a half, or until split peas are tender to the bite. Adjust for salt and pepper and serve with hot crusty bread.

Let's Talk Broth

I love using ham broth for this soup, which I often have when I also have leftover ham to dice up and throw in. The flavor is often really strong, so I use half ham broth and half water. But you can use whatever you like best. Vegetable broth works really well, as does chicken broth. But when I don't have ham broth, I will usually just use all water for this recipe, keeping the flavors, simple and clean.

Carrot, Onion and Celery

The veggies are simple - just 1/2 of an onion, a stalk of celery and a carrot. I like dicing the vegetables pretty small, I think the finished soup is just nicer, but cut them however you like it best.
The veggies are simple - just 1/2 of an onion, a stalk of celery and a carrot. I like dicing the vegetables pretty small, I think the finished soup is just nicer, but cut them however you like it best.

A Little Olive Oil

I like using a nice sized soup pot. Place it over medium heat, and add just a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. You'll use it to saute the vegetables.
I like using a nice sized soup pot. Place it over medium heat, and add just a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. You'll use it to saute the vegetables.

Saute Veggies for About 10 Minutes

Because the soup simmers for about an hour and a half, don't worry too much about getting the vegetables and too tender here. Just long enough to wake up the flavors. They'll fully cook and soften as the soup simmers.
Because the soup simmers for about an hour and a half, don't worry too much about getting the vegetables and too tender here. Just long enough to wake up the flavors. They'll fully cook and soften as the soup simmers.

Add Split Peas and Broth

Add one pound of dried green split peas. They're sold both in bulk in most grocery stores, or in one pound packages with the dried beans and rice. If you look, you can find them for as little as .69 a pound, making this dish incredibly economical.
Add one pound of dried green split peas. They're sold both in bulk in most grocery stores, or in one pound packages with the dried beans and rice. If you look, you can find them for as little as .69 a pound, making this dish incredibly economical.

Add Broth and Water

I like using ham broth when I have it, and since the flavor is so strong, I'll use half ham broth and half water. You can use whatever you like though - vegetable or chicken broth both work, as does just plain water.
I like using ham broth when I have it, and since the flavor is so strong, I'll use half ham broth and half water. You can use whatever you like though - vegetable or chicken broth both work, as does just plain water.

Add Diced Ham

I almost always make split pea soup in the week or two after I cook a whole ham, since I will have both ham broth from the bones, and leftover diced ham from the ham itself. It makes stretching dollars a lot easier!
I almost always make split pea soup in the week or two after I cook a whole ham, since I will have both ham broth from the bones, and leftover diced ham from the ham itself. It makes stretching dollars a lot easier!

Bring to a Simmer

Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half. You just need to split peas to become tender. If you cook it too long, they'll turn to mush. That's fine too - it makes a nice creamy soup!
Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half. You just need to split peas to become tender. If you cook it too long, they'll turn to mush. That's fine too - it makes a nice creamy soup!

Serve with Crusty Bread

Perfect split pea and ham soup . I love this simple, nutritious and satisfying meal. Serve it with a big green salad and a loaf of crusty bread for a perfect meal.
Perfect split pea and ham soup . I love this simple, nutritious and satisfying meal. Serve it with a big green salad and a loaf of crusty bread for a perfect meal.

How to Make Ham Broth or Ham Stock

© 2018 Jan Charles

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