I’ve mentioned a time or two that I was a little girl when my mom died, so I really don’t have as many food-related memories of her as I would like to. I can’t pinpoint a specific memory that I have of my mom and split pea soup like I can with my dad and his doctored-up Campbell’s Bean with Bacon Soup and toast on Sunday nights or Chicken Cacciatore in the Dutch oven or cinnamon rolls and egg casserole on Christmas morning. But somewhere in the back of my brain, I know that Split Pea Soup with Ham is somehow linked to my mom and that those are good memories.

I usually end up making this a few times a year after some ham-related festivity because I have to start getting really creative in thinking up ways to use up all the leftover ham. However, my kids have also decided that in spite of the visual evidence to the contrary (my son says it “looks like swamp”), they both love it and are more than happy to eat it up when I make it. In fact, my little boy loves it so much that he actually asked for it for his birthday dinner this last weekend. And since it also happens to be super healthy, I figured it would fit right in with the other healthy recipes we’re posting this month!

You start with a pound of dry split peas (.77 for a bag–not too shabby, right?!), herbs and spices, chicken or vegetable broth, carrots, onions, garlic. You’ll also need a tiny bit of malt vinegar which ends up being the secret ingredient; my soup kept feeling like it just needed more depth and I found the malt vinegar in the back of my cupboard and it just made the flavors pop. Finally, you’ll need ham. Ideally, you can use a ham bone leftover from some ham-centric large dinner, but you don’t want to use said ham bone if it the ham was seasoned with stuff like brown sugar, cloves, etc.–that’ll add a weird flavor to your soup. Also, unless dinner is regularly like a post-funeral luncheon, who makes a ham more than, like, once a year?


The good news is that you have a few options. For this particular go-around, I used a bone-in ham steak. It was great because I could buy a 1-pound steak (exactly what I needed), trim it of excessive fat, cut the bone out, and cut it into tiny pieces and we were in business. I’ve also often seen ham pieces sold at the grocery store close to the regular hams. Don’t be scared, it’s just pieces of ham that have fallen off while a ham was being spiral-cut, so you still get that spiral ham, it’s just in smaller pieces and quantities and perfect for cutting up and using in soup. Aside from the spiced, sweet hams, the ones you want to stay away from are the super-lean cubes of ham (not enough flavor) or lunch meat (it will fall apart).

Then all you need to do is place the ingredients in a slow cooker and set it to go! You can cook it on high for 4 hours, low for 6-8, or high until it boils and then turn the setting to low until you’re ready to serve it. If you’re at a high altitude, you may need to plan on more cooking time or try soaking the peas first because it will most likely take longer to cook. You’ll want it so the peas are completely (and this is kind of a dirty word in the food biz) mushy. They will fall apart and thicken the soup and yes, contribute to that swamp-like appearance. It’s just the name of the game; if they’re undercooked, they’ll be crunchy or taste like raw peas, which really isn’t what you’re after.

Remove the bay leaf and add any additional seasonings if you need to. Also, the soup may separate–just stir it up to make sure you’re getting a little of everything. The leftovers might also be quite thick; just heat it up and then add a little water or broth until the desired consistency is reached. This soup is awesome topped with Sara’s Sourdough Garlic-Herb Croutons (and I really, really encourage the whole sourdough part; it just matches the soup so well!) This soup is perfect for cold, yucky days and nights like we’re having here in Louisiana right now!

 

 

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62comments

  1. 1
    dodi says:

    This will be a must try for me in 2011!! My mother also makes a wonderful ham and bean soup, but your ingredients sound like yours is going to be a "party in my mouth.". ;). Thanks for sharing! Love, love, LOVE your blog!!!!!!!!!!! I just posted about your 7-layer Greek dip in my 2010 blessings. Although I didn't admit it, I literally ate over half that dip. And I'd do it again in a New York minute! :)

  2. 2
    Darlene says:

    If you run your split peas through a wheat grinder, you can make split pea soup in about 5 minutes. Actually, I'd let it cook for a bit longer so that the spices and flavors meld, but you can make it faster if you need a quick dinner.
    You can cook the veggies in the pressure cooker and add the ground peas to it. Let it simmer and remove the bay leaf! Trust me, you do NOT want to run it through a blender, nor just leave it in there. (don't ask!)lol

  3. 3
    Perdita says:

    In the UK you can often get ham 'bits' cheap off the deli counter at the supermarket. I always buy them to cook with (there's 2 of us so a joint's too big)- after all why pay more for dainty slices if it is to be chopped up anyway?

  4. 4
    elise says:

    Made this last night,thanks for the recipe. It was a hit with everyone ! Just the perfect comfort food. Delish!

    Thanks again,
    Elise

  5. 5
    Nikki says:

    Thanks for this recipe. I just looked at your site yesterday to see if you had a split pea soup recipe. Excited to see it today so I can use up some leftover ham.

  6. 6
    Sarah K - Sentiments by Sarah says:

    I made split pea over the weekend and it just didn't turn out the way I wanted – I did it too fast though and din't take time to spice it up. Looking forward to trying this recipe. I tried using smoked pork that I buy at Costco but its not the same as smoked ham.

  7. 7
    amt1218 says:

    I've never cooked with split peas before. But because they looked so pretty I bought some awhile back. I put them in a mason jar to look at :) So yesterday I was making vegetable beef soup in my slow cooker and decided to try them out. So I through in a half a cup of them into my vege soup. I'm not sure but think they must need a lot of cooking. Should they be soaked first like most dried beans or do I need to just cook them longer? I cooked my soup for about 6 hrs on high but the peas were still "crunchy". I felt it through off my entire pot of soup with this strange texture. Any ideas? I really want to like them and want to try split peas soup with ham but am afraid after my first experience.

    • 7.1
      Julie says:

      Even dried items can get old if they were bought “a while back”. I recommend soaking dried beans overnight if they have been sitting on your shelf for over three months. Hope that helps!
      Cheers!
      Julie

  8. 8
    amt1218 says:

    I've never cooked with split peas before. But because they looked so pretty I bought some awhile back. I put them in a mason jar to look at :) So yesterday I was making vegetable beef soup in my slow cooker and decided to try them out. So I through in a half a cup of them into my vege soup. I'm not sure but think they must need a lot of cooking. Should they be soaked first like most dried beans or do I need to just cook them longer? I cooked my soup for about 6 hrs on high but the peas were still "crunchy". I felt it through off my entire pot of soup with this strange texture. Any ideas? I really want to like them and want to try split peas soup with ham but am afraid after my first experience.

  9. 9
    amt1218 says:

    UHHHHHHHHHHHHH sorry for the double post and they mispellings! I hate when that happens! I know you throw in something not through it in! LOL! My brain is not awake fully yet!
    THANKS!!

  10. 10
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    amt1218–Are you at a high altitude? You probably do need to cook them longer or soak them first; I'll definitely add that to my directions because I tend to forget. :) Once they're cooked, they will change the texture of your soup because they'll act like a thickening agent. Generally, they should be the star of the show rather than in the background (like in a vegetable soup) just because the texture will be a little weird. Think of them more like lentils than like actual peas, you know?

  11. 11
    LollyChops says:

    I spotted the pic of the soup (which is one of my personal favorites) and thought to myself.. man those croutons look KILLER I hope they have a recipe and POOF…you guys delivered!

    I cannot wait to give your version a try! I have never used malt vinegar in mine before!

  12. 12
    HWFA says:

    I've always been a bit afraid of ham bone and dried beans too, actually … but since you said it could be done I'm going to try this out. I trust 100% now!!

    I'm love–loving these January posts!! Made the taco soup last week … everything you could ask for in a recipe … quick, easy, food storage friendly, yummy and HEALTHY!! Looking forward to broadening my abilities with another winning soup this week :-) You girls never disappoint!!!

  13. 13
    Jill says:

    As a kid we always had split pea soup the week after New Years with the left over ham from New Years dinner and the ham bone. Ours was always green and mom would blend it in the blender to smooth it out…she always added sherry too…Going to try both I think! Thanks for the points added too.

  14. 14
    The Peach.... says:

    This is too funny….my little boy was just telling me that he wishes I would make split pea soup..and I was like hmmmm…..too hard! this looks easy and I am trying it this week!!

  15. 15
    Loose Threads says:

    Awesome!! I was looking for a recipe for pea soup – I'm off to get the groceries!! Have I mentioned that I love, love, love your blog – you have the best ideas and recipes.

  16. 16
    kestrelhill says:

    My mother was famous for her pea soup. Our neighbor used to bring over a 'leftover ham bone' (with a good few pounds of meat on it!) and hint, "I thought you might want this for soup…"

  17. 17
    Adriann says:

    Despite this being soup, AND has peas in it – I am actually tempted to try this out!

  18. 18
    Anne says:

    I love split pea soup and I also love the fact that you include the new Weight Watchers points per serving. I'll be making this very soon – thanks!

  19. 19
    Kelli says:

    I've been on a split pea soup lately, but canned unfortunately, so now I am excited to try this recipe out!

  20. 20
    DJ and Candra Probert says:

    Looks yummy and I always enjoy reading about the memories or stories you girls have tied to a particular food or recipe.

    A question not specific to split pea soup — do you and Sara have a resource/website you use to calculate the nutritional info in your recipes?

    - Candra

  21. 21
    Emily says:

    Oooh this soup looks so warm and comforting! I love the sourdough croutons you used.

  22. 22
    Lindsay Loo says:

    This is a great comfort food!

  23. 23
    darcymae says:

    we call it split sea poop at my house! my hubby and kids are big fans (but i'm not) so i might need to add this to next weeks menu!

  24. 24
    the emily says:

    So sorry about your mom.

    I have very distinct memories of my grandma's split pea soup. So delish.

  25. 25
    madsonblueeyes says:

    Yum ham and beans go so well together!

  26. 26
    Kara says:

    We just ate this soup for dinner and it was a major success! Sourdough croutons were also a great accompaniment.

    The flavors were PERFECT. I followed your recipe quite exactly and we were NOT disappointed. THANK YOU!

    My one question: This wasn't as thick as split pea soup I'm used to, so I was wondering what the consistency yours had? If everything else is perfect, what would you change to thicken it a bit? I wouldn't want to mess up everything that is SO right with the soup. And we love the healthy factor.

  27. 27
    Broomfieldmom says:

    I thought this soup was awesome. I wanted a mostly vegetarian soup, so I didn't use ham. I also didn't have the vinegar. I soaked the peas. When it was cooked enough,I used a hand blender to make it smooth. So easy in the slow cooker. Thanks so much. So yummy and so healthy!!

  28. 28
    Lois says:

    We enjoyed this soup yesterday. It was WONDERFUL. Followed the recipe exactly, but made it on the stove. Used a ham steak (Aldi) as suggested. Great idea! Looking forward to purchasing your cookbook. I have used the Internet exclusively for recipes for years, but will be buying your cookbook! Love your recipes, crafts, & ideas!

  29. 29
    Creamer Family says:

    This soup is delicious. I added a parsnip along with the carrot and it gave a nice sweet flavor. My soup thickened up nicely in the crock pot, but it tasted even better the next day. Thanks for the great recipe.

  30. 30
    Kevin says:

    That soup looks good! I am going to have to try using the malt vinegar the next time I make split pea soup.

  31. 31
    Jessica says:

    I’m so glad you included nutrition information for this fabulous soup! Thanks for the tip on the malt vinegar. It was a hit with my family.

  32. 32
    Kristin says:

    Can I ask a dumb question? Was your ham already cooked? We buy a whole big at a time and with that i get a ham hock. Could I just put that in uncoooked or do I need to cook it?

    • 32.1

      My ham was already cooked, but you could do it with a ham hock (and I say you because ham hocks scare me… :) )–just pop it in with the peas and let it simmer the whole time.

      Hope that helps!

  33. 33
    angela says:

    this soup is DELISH…tho if you are looking for a thick as fog pea soup this one is not thick, but super yummy!! hubby is a little disappointed its not thick but he hasn’t tasted this deliciousness yet…he will like it
    thanks OBB best food blog I follow:)

  34. 34
    MaryAnn Bench says:

    What could I substitute for the Malt Vinegar? Would another kind be as good? I have balsamic, apple cider, white, rice, and red wine . . .

  35. 35
    Elaine says:

    Can anyone tell me approximately how many cups of dried split peas are in a pound. I buy mine in bulk quantities and I don’t have a kitchen scale… yet. :)

  36. 36
    Hillary says:

    Does this soup freeze well? I just made it, but I have TONS of leftovers. Let me know if anyone has ever frozen it successfully!

  37. 37
    Liz says:

    Looks great, I am definitely going to give it a try. Love your Blog.

  38. 38
    Heather says:

    How did you calculate the calories? When I put it into my recipe building App , the peas an ham alone are 268 cal per serving!

  39. 39
    Natalie Broekman says:

    If I don’t have Malt Vinegar, what other kind of vinegar would you suggest??? I have garlic wine, white, rice wine, and balsamic. Any suggestions? Or does it really need to be malt?

    • 39.1

      Malt vinegar is SO unique that it’s hard to replicate, but if you absolutely don’t have it and can’t get out to get some, cider vinegar would probably be the closest match. Hope that helps! :)

  40. 40
    Kristi says:

    This is probably a really dumb question, but if you have a ham bone do you cut the remaining meat off of it or do you put the actual ham bone in the soup to flavor it?

  41. 41
    Holly T. says:

    I made this and the first night I thought it was just okay. It was WAY better the 2nd night, and even more so after I froze the leftovers! I was too cheap to buy malt vinegar so I used cider and I still liked it!

  42. 42
    Renay says:

    So I made this with my leftover spiral cut ham. It was awesome! It was a little bit salty, but that is because I used the 8 boullion cubes I think. Next time I would do low-sodium chicken broth or maybe half broth and boullion. I also added a stalk of celery because I had one. There was a ton of ham in there! I was amazed at how much. I felt like such a thrifty housewife using up all the ham! I did have to fish out a few pieces of fat and bone, but it was easy. I think I cooked it too long (crockpot all day) because my split peas completely disappeared, but that wasn’t a bad thing. And it got better as leftovers. It was AMAZING 2 days after I made it. Best split pea and ham soup ever!! Also, definitely make the croutons. They rock!

  43. 43
    Wendy F. says:

    Made this tonight with Easter dinner left overs, (ham that had been cooked with a sweet glaze with peppercorns, but it still turned out well). My family (including a 9 and 4 year old) loved it. Thanks for the great recipe, and for giving me the chance to use split peas for the first time in my life :)

  44. 44
    Ang says:

    This was my first time making split pea soup and I’m impressed! Easy and delicious! I hope my husband (who hates ham) agrees… I made a few changes to make it a little more enticing to my 2 and 4 year olds – I put the ham in to simmer in big chunks so I could fish it out later. I pureed the soup and then shredded the ham. Viola! Delish! Thanks for the recipe. I haven’t been disappointed with your recipes yet!

  45. 45

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  47. 47
    Heidi says:

    Do you cook the ham bone in there or just cut off the meat?

  48. 48
    Carol says:

    What size crook pot should I use? I have a 4 quart and do not want spillovers

  49. 49
    heather says:

    hi, i seem to remeber another split pea soup recipe. I’m not sure which of you posted it, but i remember the story before the recipe being about one of your children requesting this soup for their birthday dinner. is this the same recipe?

  50. 50
    Trina says:

    this was a good one – I had never had nor made split pea soup before and this was good! I did have one of my daughters tell me that it looked like barf but I made her try it and she said “barf taste good” LOL – we’ll be making it again for sure!

  51. 51

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