Make Ahead

Split Pea Soup for a Winter's Day

March 16, 2011
16 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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
  • 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
  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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