Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup with ham and vegetables

When I was a child, once or twice a year my father would say "let's go have pea soup for lunch!" We'd pile into the Rambler station wagon and drive two hours up the 101 freeway to Buellton, California. Our destination was Pea Soup Andersen's restaurant, and after waiting in line for a table, we'd eagerly finish up bowls of this magical stuff before making the long drive back home.

Although my current split pea soup recipe is very different from the famous Pea Soup Andersen's recipe, it still brings back memories of those special trips with my parents and brother.

Nowadays I add carrots, potatoes and ham to my split pea soup, and I prefer that it be a bit chunky instead of puréed. Want to try it? Here's what you need:

Chopped potatoes and carrots

Split Pea Soup with Ham

1 pound dried split peas
2 quarts chicken broth or water
ham bone or leftover ham, chunked (optional, but it makes the soup so much better!)
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of dried marjoram
2 carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped (I used Yukon Gold)

Soak dried peas overnight in water, then drain.

Soak the peas overnight. If you forget to soak them (ahem), you can use the "shortcut" of gently boiling the peas for two minutes and then letting them soak for an hour or longer. Whichever method you used, the next step is to drain the peas.

Sauté the onion and garlic in a bit of butter or olive oil until the onions are soft, then transfer to a stockpot. Add half of the peas, the ham bone, salt and pepper and marjoram. (I used leftover ham, and waited to add it with the vegetables.) Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for an hour and a half. Stir occasionally.

Add carrots, potatoes, ham and the rest of the peas.

Add the carrots, potatoes and the rest of the split peas. (Ina Garten, the "Barefoot Contessa," divides the peas like this so they all won't cook down to mush. We do like some definition in our soup.)

If you used a ham bone, remove it from the soup, cut the meat off the bone and return the meat to the pot. If you are using leftover ham instead, add it to the soup now. Return the soup to a simmer and continue cooking for an additional 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the veggies from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Split pea soup

Thin with a little broth or water if you wish. Add more salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot. Warm it up a bit with a tiny dash of cayenne if desired.

What food brings back fond childhood memories for you?

Split Pea Soup with ham and vegetables

The Month of Soups collection:
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Spilt Pea Soup
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Ham and Bean Soup
White Bean Tortellini Soup
Roasted Tomato Soup
Chicken and Mushroom Soup
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
French Onion Soup
Albondigas Soup

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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