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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.

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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

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