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Pea and Ham Soup Recipe

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

Hot, steaming bowl of deliciously rustic, homemade pea and ham soup

Hot, steaming bowl of deliciously rustic, homemade pea and ham soup

Pea and Ham Soup

Pea and ham is a classic soup combination but sadly in modern times, it is often made with the assistance of a food processor or blender to achieve a super smooth consistency. This means that more traditional home cooks may not always prepare pea and ham soup in the belief that it requires the use of such a device. This is a soup which was around long before modern electric kitchen appliances, however, so this soup recipe shows how to make a tasty, attractive and very authentic pea and ham soup in a simple and traditional way. It could of course also be blended in a food processor, before the ham is added, if that is the way you wish to proceed.

Choosing the Right Ham for Pea and Ham Soup

Two pound, boneless piece of rolled ham

Two pound, boneless piece of rolled ham

Tips for Buying Ham

Soup made from any type of meat—be it ham, chicken or beef—usually sees the stock made with meat still on the bone. In this particular recipe, however, a boneless piece of rolled, unsmoked ham was used to great effect. The vegetables and peppercorns give the stock the additional flavours required.

How to Make Rustic Pea and Ham Soup

Ham, chopped vegetables and black peppercorns ready for water

Ham, chopped vegetables and black peppercorns ready for water

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

6 hours

2 hours 45 min

8 hours 45 min

4 to 6 generous portions


  • 2lb piece of rolled, unsmoked ham
  • 1 large carrot, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, washed, topped, tailed and chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • Cold water as required
  • 1lb potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1lb bag frozen garden peas
  • Small bunch flat leafed parsley, roughly chopped

Step by Step Guide to Making Pea and Ham Soup

  1. Be sure to remove any and all plastic packaging from the ham. Wash it in cold water and sit it in a large soup pot. Add the chopped carrot, celery and onion along with the black peppercorns. Pour in enough cold water to completely cover the ham.
  2. Put the pot on a high heat until the water just starts to boil. Turn down the heat to achieve a gentle simmer, cover and leave to cook for one hour and forty-five minutes.
  3. Use a carving fork and/or a very large slotted spoon to carefully lift the cooked ham to a plate. Cover and leave to cool slightly.
  4. It may be that you will want to add all of the ham to your soup but you may find you can comfortably use some for another purpose and still have plenty for re-adding to the soup. If so, you may want to try a sandwich of still warm ham and English mustard. Delicious!
  5. The stock should be recovered and left to cool completely. This is likely to take several hours and when it is cooled, you will see an unattractive layer of impurities has formed on the surface. Carefully skim these impurities off with a large spoon and discard. Strain the stock through a fine sieve to remove the vegetables and peppercorns. Wash the pot and return to it the sieved stock.
  6. Add the potatoes and frozen peas to the stock and bring it back up to a simmer for half an hour. The potatoes not only help to thicken the stock, they counteract any remaining excess salt.
  7. Use a hand masher to methodically crush the potatoes and the peas. There's no need to go overboard as some texture should be left in the soup but take a couple of minutes to ensure all larger pieces are crushed. Re-add the cooled and roughly torn or chopped ham and simmer for ten more minutes.
  8. The parsley should be added to the soup for the final couple of minutes' simmering. At this stage, taste the soup, adjust the seasoning if required and ladle in to bowls for service.

Is this a soup you are likely to prepare at home?

© 2012 Gordon Hamilton


Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on October 25, 2012:

Hi, Denise - you'll be made very welcome the next time you're in this part of the world! :)

I know the plastic instructions may seem obvious but I actually fell victim to this once. The ham was not wrapped once or twice but three times and I never noticed the tight plastic around the edge. You really don't want to cook it with that still on...

Yes, definitely a ham hock would be more frequently used but this really does work and with the garden peas is great. Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on October 25, 2012:

Hi, Nell. Yes, it is a very simple soup and I hope this has inspired you to give the traditional soup making process a go. It really makes all the difference in the world with fresh stock. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on October 23, 2012:

Wow, Gordon...I'm stopping by your place for a big bowl of this delicious looking soup! Yum!

I had to chuckle with your directions: #1 remove all plastic...? Yes, some people would need that piece of info I suppose.

Thanks for sharing. Like Deborah, I usually use a ham hock. I've never used the garden peas and would like to try that. Rated it 5 stars and UP

Nell Rose from England on October 23, 2012:

Hi Gordon, I hate to admit it but I have never made soup the natural way before! lol! but this is simple to understand and it looks delicious, I do make stews so it's a similar process apart from the straining of the stock, yes it looks yummy! I will have to give it a go, voted up! nell

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on October 23, 2012:

Hi, Sherri.

Yes, the dried peas/split peas option is probably the more popular one over here (UK) as well but I just like the colour of the soup made this way. I don't think you can ever get the same vibrant green with dried peas as you can with frozen or ultra fresh peas.

Pea and ham soup is a fond remembrance of childhood for me in many ways and although this specific recipe is one I made up, I would definitely always use the potato to both thicken the soup and help take away any excess ham saltiness.

It is really easy to make (if a little bit time consuming, like most soups made from scratch) and I hope you enjoy it if you give it a try. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on October 23, 2012:

Like Deb, I've never made this type of soup, and so I was expecting to see a recipe using dried peas.

I make a pea soup stock the same way you do, sometimes using a smoked hock or just some leftover ham. So that much is similar. But I've never used potatoes and green peas together as the main ingredients of a soup.

This looks very interesting, very easy to pepare, and I'm definitely going to enjoy making it.

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on October 22, 2012:

Hi, Deborah. Yes, I have made it with split peas and ham hocks. The main idea here was to make it as healthy as possible by using the frozen peas and also giving it the colour. The purpose of using the potatoes was definitely both to thicken it and help take out some of the salt. Potatoes are great in both respects. I'm sure your soup was great - hope you enjoy this one if you give it a go. Thanks very much for your visit and comment.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on October 22, 2012:

I just made ham and pea soup last night with a giant ham hock I got from a local farmer. But I used dried split peas instead of frozen. Mine didn't have potatoes in it, either. I'll have to try your recipe next!

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