I love Split Pea soup. To me, it’s just one of those cozy, winter meals that epitomizes comfort food. Yes, the color is less than desirable, but it sure does taste good. Whenever we have ham, I always freeze the bone to use with a pot of pea soup. This year, the bone didn’t hang out in the freezer for too long!
I started off by rinsing a pound of split peas in a colander, and picking through quickly to remove anything that didn’t look quite right. Good thing I did, because I found a pebble! Either that, or it was an incredibly nasty looking little pea.
After that, we were good to go.
In a large pot on the stove, I quickly sautéed some onion, carrots, and celery, along with some fresh thyme, in a little bit of olive oil.
Once the vegetables had softened up a bit, I seasoned them with salt and pepper, and added in my peas, a can of chicken broth, some water, and my glorious ham bone. If you don’t have a ham bone on hand, you could always use a ham hock or two.
It’s amazing how much flavor that bone (or hock) brings to the table.
I brought the soup to a boil, reduced the heat, and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. That was just enough time to cook those little peas up perfectly.
As the soup was cooking, I prepared some quick and easy croutons to throw on top. I just used whole wheat sandwich bread, and toasted up the cubes in a bit of butter on the stove. You can use whatever type of bread you have on hand. The croutons just give the soup a nice little buttery crunch.
After the soup had simmered, and the peas were soft, I removed the bone from the soup and then pureed half of the soup in my blender.
I added the pureed soup back into my pot and I also stirred in about two cups of ham that I’d chopped up (also left over from Christmas!). I seasoned it with a bit of salt and pepper, and it was done! The recipe I was using actually called for a dash of lemon juice at the end, as well, but I completely forgot until we had already each eaten a bowl! So, feel free to add the lemon juice if you’d like. Let me know how it is! 😉
Mmmm…the soup was cozy, warm and delicious. Winter soup perfection…even if the color is a little less than pretty.
SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH HAM
Adapted from Martha Stewart
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
- salt and pepper
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) reduced fat chicken broth
- 1 bag (16 oz.) green split peas, rinsed and picked through
- Ham bone or 1-2 ham hocks
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups ham, chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 4 slices whole wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed, and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice (optional)
- In a Dutch oven or 5-quart heavy pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, and thyme. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook until the veggies are soft, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, split peas, ham bone, and 5 cups water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and partially cover; simmer until the peas are soft, about 30-45 minutes.
- As the soup is cooking, make the croutons. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and cook, tossing occasionally, until the bread is browned and crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate until ready to serve.
- Once the peas are soft, remove and discard the ham bone.
- Transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree. You may have to do this in batches. Don't overfill your blender! Return the puree to the pot and stir.
- Add the chopped ham and simmer until heated through.
- If necessary, thin with water.
- Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice if desired.
- Serve, topped with the buttery croutons.