Discover the delights of a truly classic comfort food dish with our Hearty Split Pea and Ham Soup recipe! This delicious and nutritious recipe combines the best of traditional cooking with the added convenience of modern kitchen techniques. Perfect for a cozy family dinner or as a warming treat for when the weather turns chilly, this recipe is sure to become a firm favorite in your culinary repertoire.
To prepare this heartwarming soup, you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups of dried green or yellow split peas, soaked in water overnight
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 cups of low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups of diced ham, preferably smoked
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Now that you have your ingredients assembled, it’s time to begin cooking this tasty and satisfying Hearty Split Pea and Ham Soup.
1. Begin by draining and rinsing the soaked split peas. This step is essential to ensure the best possible texture for your finished soup.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened.
3. Stir in the drained split peas and broth, then add in the diced ham, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer, covered, for around 1 1/2 hours. At this point, the peas should be tender and the soup thickened.
4. As a final step, remove the bay leaf and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, perhaps with some crusty bread for dipping.
History and Curiosities of Hearty Split Pea and Ham Soup
This Hearty Split Pea and Ham Soup has a rich history that spans across centuries and national borders. Hailing from the medieval culinary traditions of Europe, this dish was initially made with pease pottage, a thick soup made from dried peas – the predecessor of the split peas that we know today.
The soup’s present form, including the addition of root vegetables and ham, can be traced back to the 19th century, when it became a popular dish among farmers and laborers due to its low cost, high energy content, and easy access to the ingredients. In particular, this recipe is a classic example of thrifty country cooking, with people using every part of the pig to create delicious meals – hams, sausages, and even the bones were used for broths and stocks.
Hearty Split Pea and Ham Soup has also found a place in various global culinary cultures. In the Netherlands, the traditional erwtensoep, or snert, is a beloved winter staple, often served with a side of smoked sausage. Meanwhile, in Québec, Canada, a version of this soup called “soupe aux pois” is flavored with locally-produced maple syrup.
In essence, the Hearty Split Pea and Ham Soup is a true testament to the power of simple, hearty ingredients coming together to create something delicious, satisfying, and timeless. Loved by generations past, and sure to be cherished by many more to come, this is one recipe that will always have a place in our cultural culinary heritage.