Discover the flavors of this mouthwatering Split Pea Soup with Ham recipe, a warm and satisfying meal that is perfect for those colder days or when you just want to enjoy a hearty and comforting soup. This classic recipe is rich in history, while the combination of split peas, ham, and tasty vegetables creates a savory, thick, and satisfying dish that you and your family will love.
- 1 lb split peas, rinsed and drained
- 8 cups water or chicken broth
- 1 lb ham, diced (preferably smoked or leftover ham with bone)
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Step by step instructions
- In a large soup pot, add split peas, water (or chicken broth), and ham bone (if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If using smoked ham or leftover ham without bone, skip this step and proceed to step 2.
- In another large pot, heat some oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.
- Add the cooked split peas and ham mixture to the pot with the sautéed vegetables, along with the diced ham, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for another 40-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens and the peas are tender.
- Remove the bay leaf and discard. If desired, use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth or to your preferred consistency. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.
The history and curiosities of Split Pea Soup with Ham
Split Pea Soup dates back thousands of years ago, with its origins tracing back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The recipe has evolved over the years, spreading through various cultures, and becoming popular in Europe during the 17th century when split peas were introduced to the continent. It is believed that the soup took its roots in French and English cuisines, where ham was commonly added to enhance the flavors.
In the United States, Split Pea Soup with Ham is often associated with the famous nursery rhyme “Pease Porridge Hot,” which highlights the fact that the dish was a common staple during colonial times. It remains a comforting classic that warms the heart and brings people together.
Today, each country has its own unique take on this traditional soup. In Germany, it features the addition of sausage and is traditionally served on New Year’s Day for good luck. In the Netherlands, it’s called “Erwtensoep” and is a much thicker variation commonly eaten during the winter months.
Aside from being a delicious and comforting meal, split peas are also incredibly nutritious, being rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. With a delightful blend of flavors, textures, and history, this Split Pea Soup with Ham recipe is perfect to warm up your days and satisfy your cravings while connecting you with age-old culinary traditions from around the world.