The first time I had this soup, it was from a can. And I fell in love! okay, I’m strange; I like peas. All peas. I still keep canned peas in my pantry, and occasionally snack on them. As a young married woman, I wanted to improve my repertoire of recipes, and worked on making this a part of the list of regular meals.
When I lived in central Tennessee, I had a real honest-to-God butcher, and he had hams from a local smokehouse. The hams were cured, then hung for days to smoke, and then sold at the butcher shop. All I had to do was call in my order on Monday, and pick up on Friday. I ordered a half ham, about 8 pounds, bone-in once a month. The leftovers were frozen and used for a variety of recipes and the best ham sandwiches in the world. Split pea soup ended up one of our favorites, along with bean soup.
Although this soup is great in a more traditional way, I also like to jazz up a bowl with sriracha and cilantro, or cheese. It’s a blank slate that lends itself to your imagination. This also easy to make as a vegan soup, replace the stock and ham, and it’s a great meal for anyone.
Pea Soup with Ham
3 stalks celery, diced (about 5 ounces)
2 carrots, diced, (about 5 ounces)
¾ cup diced onions, (about 6 ounces)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 medium red potatoes, diced, (about 10 ounces)
1 ½ pounds smoked ham, diced
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
8 – 12 ounces dried split peas*
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1-pound frozen peas
¼ cup dry white wine, chardonnay or pinot grigio
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Check the dried peas for and small rocks or other debris, and set aside. Heat a 5 to 6 – quart pot over medium heat. Add the oil and reduce the heat. Sweat the celery, carrots, and onions with the kosher salt for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned. Add the ham and heat for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, wine, dried peas, granulated garlic and parsley. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat and cover. Cook covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The peas should begin to soften and break up after about 30 minutes. Continue to cook until the peas are completely softened. Increase heat to medium- low and add the frozen peas and the pepper. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Taste to adjust seasoning.
*Use 8 ounces of dried peas for a thinner soup, or use 12 for a thick stew-like consistency.