There is nothing more delicious than a rich, thick split pea and smoked ham soup.
In fact, a recent study has shown that bone broth made from dry-cured ham bones may be beneficial for heart health. So even more goodness from this classic soup.
With the long cooking the peas melt into the liquid and the potatoes thicken the soup further as they break down during the cooking. The beautiful smoked ham hock adds so much flavour along with the caramelised onions.
Some like to puree the soup in the classic way, but I prefer to cook the carrots and potatoes in large pieces and crush them near the end of the cooking time. This leaves some small pieces that give a nice texture.
Lots of lovely ham pieces that just fall off the bone add to the thick pea soup. This makes a wonderful meal served with some good crusty bread.
Rich Split Pea and Smoked Ham Soup
- 2 1/4 cups dried split peas
- 6 + 3/4 cups of water
- 1 ham hock or pieces of ham off the bone
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tblsp Olive oil
- 1 small knob of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ground black pepper
- some sprigs of fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped (use whole)
- 3 carrots, cut into pieces lengthwise and in half
- 3 medium potatoes, cut into wedges
- 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1. Rinse and drain the split peas under cold water and then pick over to remove any discoloured peas or any small stones that may be present
2. Place the cleaned peas in a large pot and cover with the cold water and soak overnight
3. Next day strain off soaking liquid from the peas and set them aside
4. Peel potatoes and cut them into wedges. Peel carrots, then cut into quarters lengthwise. Wash and trim celery into lengths and chop them finely.
5. Into a large pot, broad enough to hold the ham hock, place two tablespoons of olive oil and a knob of butter
6. Heat over a medium-low heat till the butter foams, then add the sliced onions and celery pieces and cook for about 8 minutes until the onions are translucent
7. Place the ham hock into the pot
8. Return the split peas to the pot and cover with vegetable stock, salt and about 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Add extra hot water to make sure that the ham hock is fully covered
9. Bring the soup to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours skimming off the foam that forms on the surface
10. Then remove the ham hock and remove the meat from the bone. Return the ham to the soup
11. Add the finely chopped rosemary, potato wedges, and carrots to the soup. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to simmer.
12. Cover and simmer for a further 1 1/2 hours till the vegetables are tender.
13. Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush the potato and carrot pieces against the sides of the pot. This will add extra thickness to the soup. The peas should be completely dissolved and the vegetables tender and the soup thick and rich
14. If wanting a rich green colour to your soup, remove the carrots and the ham and puree the soup and potatoes using an immersion blender. This will give a strong green colour rather than a more muddy colour if you puree the carrots as well
15. Alternatively, as I have done, crush the carrot pieces that remain. This gives a lovely texture to the soup
16. Remove the skin from the ham leaving only the ham flesh. Then check the seasoning and adjust as needed.
16. Serve your pea and smoked ham soup with some pieces of ham in each bowl and serve with some crusty bread.