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I set out to make my fist batch of Split Pea Soup when I was newly engaged and was sent home (graciously) with a whole lot of leftover ham from Christmas dinner with my soon-to-be in-laws. What was I going to do with all this ham? My, now husband, hinted he, loved Split Pea & Ham Soup. Well then, there it was. What else is a fiancée looking to impress her groom-to-be to do but scour the internet for the best Split Pea & Ham Soup she can find, and then execute it without flaw! I was up for the challenge (I’m always up for a cooking challenge).
And so a-searching I went, and like a beacon of light at the end of a somewhat boring or over-ambitious murky haze of split pea fog I was led to Parker’s recipe https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/parkers-split-pea-soup-recipe-1916855. I’m sure you will notice, as any dedicated chef would, Parker’s recipe doesn’t have ham. Not to worry, I have added ham for the past 14 years of making this recipe and it only makes the soup better (in my humble opinion).
In addition to adding ham I also added celery, extra carrots (a favorite in my family), extra potatoes, and a bay leaf.
Makes 6-8 hearty servings. I have an amazing heavy Dutch oven pot I use for this and many other one pot meals and soups and stews. It actually just states on my stove when it’s clean because I use it so much. Here is one similar to mine https://amzn.to/2DNZL63. You will love it!
We all love this soup in my house so much seconds and thirds are a given And we still have some for husband’s lunch the next day and leftovers.
Here is my take on Parker’s Split Pea Soup…
- 1 Cup Yellow Onion (chopped)
- 2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
- 1/8 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1-1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- One Bay Leaf
- 1 Cup Celery (chopped)
- 2 Cups Ham (cubed)
- 3 Cups Carrots (sliced about 1/2″)
- 2 Cups Red Potatoes (cubed – I have used russets as well & they work beautifully)
- 1 lbs. Split Peas (divided)
- 8 Cups of Chicken Broth or Water (I use 4 cups of broth and 4 cups of water. The ham adds a lot of flavor).
- Add the olive oil, onions, and garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano in a soup pot and allow the onions to cook until they are translucent (5-10 minutes).
- Add the bay leaf, ham, celery, carrots, and potatoes with 1/2 pound of the split peas with the chicken broth/water.
- Bring this mix to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes uncovered. There may be a foam that forms on the top of your soup at this stage. You can remove it by skimming a spoon on the surface. This doesn’t happen to me every time (you can see the start of the foam on the picture above).
- Add the second half of the split peas and simmer an additional 40 minutes.
- Serve hot with some crusty bread or grilled cheese to warm a winter soul.
The beauty of this recipe lies in adding the split peas at the beginning and halfway through. This strategy allows the soup to get creamy as if you have added a ton of heavy cream or puréed it while allowing for a bit of bite to keep it hearty.
***You can also freeze leftover soup for another day.