Denise Cooks…Split Pea & Ham Soup


My mom never made it when I was growing up.  I think she had a ‘Mommy Dearest’ type experience with her mother when she was young, and it scarred her for life.  Which is a bummer…split pea & ham soup is one of my all time faves! 

I’ve gotten spoiled the past few years…being in the kitchen less for work has prompted me to be in the kitchen more at home.   I really like cooking for myself, and friends & family.  There’s nothing so satisfying as sitting down to a meal that I prepared myself.

First step-just like at work, was gathering my mis en place.  Notice the ham is a Niman Ranch. It’s humanely raised, pastured, no antibiotics, nitrates, nitrites, etc, and only 30 calories per oz, so fairly lean.  I don’t tolerate nitrates/nitrites well, so have not eaten cured/processed pork products for some years (not a bad thing).  I found this product at Whole Foods yesterday & thought I’d give it a try.  I highly recommend it!

I’m not so picky about my split peas though…

After gathering my mise en place, I started my cuts.  Beautifully even, medium dice that Rie would be proud of!  I like just a little carrot in my pea soup, so loaded up on the celery & onion.

Then it’s into the pot to sauté (I like the veggies to caramelize so it is a sauté vs sweat).  I tried to get a pic of this step, but my camera lens kept fogging up.  Here’s the best shot.  It’s a good thing I love being a chef…I don’t think I have what it takes to be a photographer.

Once my veggies & a little of that incredible ham were nicely browned, I added the peas, chicken broth (you can use veggie broth), a bay leaf & some fresh ground black pepper.   This picture was after the soup simmered for the recommended time of ½ hour (as stated on the package of split peas).  The peas were still as hard & they look!  I ended up simmering it for about 2 hours.


Now the best part…sitting down to a steaming bowl of soup!

It was delicious! 


About 8 ounces good quality ham, diced to ½”

2 small-medium sweet onions (I like Vidalia’s, but any sweet will do), diced to ½”

2 small-medium carrots, diced to ½”

2-3 ribs celery, diced to ½”

1 tbsn olive oil

1 bay leaf

1 lb split peas

*About 3 quarts chicken or vegetable broth (you can use water, but broth will add more flavor & richness to your soup…and you’ll also need to add salt if you use water)

About ½-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 

Dice the ham & vegetables.  Heat a large saucepan over high heat.  Add oil; sauté ham & vegetables until nicely browned.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer, uncovered for a couple hours, until peas are tender & soup has thickened.

*You may need to add more broth if soup is too thick.

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