Split Pea Soup for a Winter's Day

March 16, 2011


Author Notes: This is a straight up, classic, green split pea soup with a good, meaty smoked ham hock I got at the farmers market. It is one of the first things I remember learning to cook as a child. I crave it every winter. My grandfather was known for his soups, and made a great one, and so did my mom. I bet yours did too.

Photo of finished soup courtesy of 101 Cookbooks. All other photos are mine. - Burnt Offerings
Burnt Offerings

Food52 Review: WHO: Burnt Offerings is a healthcare consultant living in Baltimore.
WHAT: A rich, smoky soup to scare away the coldest of days.
HOW: Sauté your onions, carrots, and celery; add your aromatics, peas, and ham hocks; simmer it all with stock; garnish with pepper and smoked paprika.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Burnt Offerings' attention to detail is what makes this soup really shine; the onions, carrots, and celery have time to caramelize, giving it a rich depth that many soups lack. We love the addition of smoked paprika at the end, which amplifies the smoky ham hocks without overwhelming the bowl. We'll be making this for many winters to come.
The Editors

Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig each of fresh: rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 pound dried, green split peas, rinsed and picked over for stones.
  • One 2-pound smoked ham hock
  • 3 quarts homemade chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper and smoked paprika to taste
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep stock pot and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until soft, about 12 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Make a bouquet garni using the fresh herbs and peppercorns. Tie tightly and place into pot.
  4. Pour the peas into the pot, and nestle the ham hock on top.
  5. Pour in the stock, add salt, and bring it to boil.
  6. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and gently simmer for 2 1/2 hours, skimming foam from the top and stirring occasionally.
  7. After simmering, remove ham hock from soup and cool. Remove bouquet garni and discard.
  8. Chop up the ham hock and return to pot.
  9. Season soup with more salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper and some smoked paprika to taste.
  10. Serve piping hot with crusty bread or oyster crackers. Garnish with a drizzle of your best olive oil and some crumbled bacon.

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Reviews (35) Questions (2)

35 Reviews

Rick October 9, 2018
First time I made this it was wonderful. This time I could only find 1.25 lb. of ham shanks ( not hocks) so threw in about 1/2 lb of artisanal tasso that I´ve had waiting for the next pot of gumbo. YUM!!! <br />But having said that it is awful hard to go wrong on a pot of split pea soup.<br />Thank you for a wonderful recipe
 
saramarsh January 7, 2018
This is perfection. I made it to get us through the post shoveling fun after the blizzard and OH.MY.GOD. <br />It was a little thin to start, but with a touch of cornstarch, and an overnight rest, it was marvelous, even with the sub-in of leftover ham.<br /> I actually made the bouquet garni; my store sells a fresh herb "poultry mix" so I bought that and used dried marjoram in with the fresh herbs. I can't get over the difference in flavor, as I usually just use dried...<br />I'm gonna make it again today :)<br />
 
saramarsh January 7, 2018
Additionally, I sauteed the veggies in bacon fat and olive oil, that made a fantastic addition :)
 
Cathy W. December 30, 2017
I've made this recipe several times now, usually after Easter and Christmas when I serve ham and have leftovers, instead of the ham hock. Like others, I use dried herbs in lieu of fresh, although I did have fresh thyme today. It does seem thin using the three quarts of stock, but it does thicken up. My family loves this soup and whenever I serve ham, they ask if I'm going to make that split pea soup. It definitely is a community pick !
 
Jasmin R. May 19, 2017
Just made this. Came out perfect with the flavors, but I want to get it smoother next time like in the picture. What I did differently was that I couldn't find ham hock, so I used some diced pork belly and finely chopped high-quality sandwich ham. I cooked both at the beginning with some smoked paprika. Everything else was the same. Wonderful, delicious recipe! Thanks for sharing.
 
LeeLeeBee January 18, 2016
I love this recipe. When I don't have fresh herbs on hand, I substitute 1 tsp dried for each (usually doubling the rosemary, since that's my favorite).
 
Mrs. T. January 17, 2015
Loved this soup! It is so simple and even though I didn't all the proper ingredients, it turned out great. Some tips if you're like me and don't have fresh herbs or smoked ham hock on hand: Because I didn't have fresh herbs, I used about 1/2 tsp. of the dried herbs identified in this recipe and placed them in a metal tea leaf ball and threw it in the pot when the bouquet garni was called for. Worked great. Also, I used bacon. I used a pound -- too much! Use a half-pound, as suggested by Burnt Offerings and be sure to slice it into pieces no larger than 1". I cooked the bacon in the stock pot and then used the bacon grease in lieu of the olive oil when I cooked the vegetables. I threw the cooked bacon into the soup at the very end of the process, rather than just sprinkling on top. Your choice. It made the bacon sort of limp when it came to eatin it, but that's what you get in pork 'n beans so I didn't sweat it. Also, I made this the night before and ate it the next day so that the soup would thicken. <br /><br />Really, really delicious. This morning I bought a ham hock at the farmers market and I'll make it the proper way. Can't wait to see how it turns out!
 
Burf January 14, 2015
This is great! 3 quarts of stock does make a thin soup, but I wouldn't change a thing.
 
Author Comment
Burnt O. January 15, 2015
I used three quarts for 2 reasons: (1) I had a large ham hock and wanted to submerge it; and (2) this thickens considerably once it's cooled, and I end up having to add more stock on the second or third day. Like most soups or stews, it's better on day 2 or 3.
 
keg72 January 13, 2015
This is a terrific soup! The ham flavor really permeates every bite!
 
glammie January 11, 2015
3 quarts of stock is far too much. I'd do it again, but with only 2.
 
LeeLeeBee January 7, 2015
This recipe was fabulous. I adapted it for my slow cooker - I reduced the amount of stock to 8 cups (2 quarts) and cooked it on low for 10 hours.
 
Vanessa R. January 4, 2015
can I make this in a slow cooker
 
TriBeCa November 6, 2014
How do you think this would work with no Ham hock. I am not opposed to it just want to make with no meat?
 
froggie March 5, 2014
perfect perfect perfect. just made a pot today, burnt. wonderfully chasing away the last of the gray snow. love the lil hint of paprika w/ the ham. "-)
 
Chris H. March 5, 2014
Congratulations on the win! I can't wait to make this.
 
thegreatpumpkin October 19, 2013
This looks like an amazing recipe. What's your method for making chicken stock?
 
Author Comment
Burnt O. October 20, 2013
There are lots of terrific chicken stock recipes here on Food52 - look around! I usually put a chicken carcasss, or so some roasted wings, backs, and necks in a large stock pot with an onion (halved), 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, a couple cloves of garlic (optional), about 8-10 peppercorns, and sprigs of thyme and parsley. Cover with 10 cups of cold water, and bring to a bare simmer (the water should barely burble), for at least 2 hours, and up to 4. Cool, remove the solids, and refrigerate. Once it's chilled, skim off the fat, reheat, strain through cheesecloth, and use it, or freeze it.
 
ellenl September 24, 2013
This sounds wonderful. You may be interested in oui, chef's (Steve Dunn's) adaptation of Thomas Keller's split pea soup from Ad Hoc. I love split pea soup and he (Steve) is right, that after making this I have never looked back!
 
ontilt December 7, 2012
Made this last weekend and it was absolutely delicious. The herb aroma filling the kitchen as the soup stews is a nice precursor to the hearty and full flavor. Got some family raves as it was taken for lunch in the days after too. Thanks!
 
Author Comment
Burnt O. December 7, 2012
So happy you liked it! I sometimes have to thin it out with broth or water after a day or two - it gets thick. But so yummy! Bake, or have a loaf of fresh bread ready - so good together.
 
steffiweffi October 3, 2012
My sister just made this and it was the most amazing soup ever! I would not change a thing!
 
Author Comment
Burnt O. October 3, 2012
Aww - thanks! My grandfather would be so happy!
 
Muse September 16, 2012
Would using a ham steak work with this recipe?
 
Author Comment
Burnt O. September 16, 2012
Absolutely! Just chop it up and add it in about an hour before the soup is done.
 
ellebarr March 11, 2012
My husband's family is Dutch and they had Split pea soup they called Ercha soup later found out it is spelled Ertensoep (little earth soup) and made it on Christmas eve every year. This is to celebrate the winter solstice not only because it is delicious winter comfort food but because the split peas signify the earth coming back to green after the long winter. I love the pagan tradition this represents. I have been making spit pea soup in all varieties, vegetarian or with bacon, sausage, pancetta, ham etc.... for years and especially on the solstice or Christmas eve. <br /> <br />You can certainly enjoy Split pea soup without meat easily as it does not need a smokey flavor to be delicious. When I was learning to cook I was a vegetarian and followed recipes from the Moosewood cook book which called for a dash of vinegar at the end of the cooking time.