Split Pea and Smoked Ham Soup


I'm having a hard time believing that we are in a new year. The demarcation of 2011's end and 2012 beginning feels unsettlingly hazy to me. For one, the weather seems to have done one gigantic leap from autumn straight into spring here in the northeast, confusing the rhythm of the seasons. The days also seem to blur too but I blame that on chasing down an obstinately overactive infant from dawn to dusk. And for some reason I'm having a hard time committing to a New Year's resolution.  Have you made a New Year's resolution? And what was it?


For the two days this winter when the temperatures did plunge into the teens, I made a split pea and smoked ham soup that was so delectable I won't be waiting much longer to make it again. The smokiness of ham infused beautifully into a broth that serves as a bold canvas for a creamy pea and deeply caramelized vegetable soup. The small chunks of ham and potatoes added a rustic quality to an already hearty soup.


Split Pea and Smoked Ham Soup
From Cooks Illustrated
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 lbs smoked ham, picnic bone-in
  • 3 quarts water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 lb split peas (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped medium
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped medium
  • 2 medium celery ribs, chopped medium
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 3 small new potatoes, diced 1/2 inch
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional)
Method
  1. Place the ham, bay leaves, and 3 quarts water in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until meat is tender and pulls away from the bone, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove the ham meat and bone from pot. When ham is cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite sized pieces and set aside. Discard rind, fat, and bone.
  2. Add split peas and thyme to ham stock. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until peas are tender but not dissolved, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until simmering. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute, stirring frequently, until most liquid evaporates and the vegetables begin to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter, garlic, and sugar. Cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until deeply browned, 30 to 35 minutes; set aside.
  4. Add the sauteed vegetables, potatoes, and shredded ham to the pot with the split peas. Simmer until the potatoes are tender and the peas dissolve and thicken soup to the consistency of light cream, about 20 minutes more. Season with ground pepper to taste. (The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days. Warm the soup over low heat until hot.) Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with red onion, if using, and serve, passing balsamic vinegar separately.
Serves 8-10.

34 comments:

Chiara said...

a perfect comfort food , thank you Christine!

From the Kitchen said...

I just picked up a ham hock at Whole Foods over the weekend in anticipation of a white bean soup. Your split pea looks so tasty that I think I'll put dried peas on today's grocery list. It's a long list since our first real snow is predicted for the next few days. Definitely soup weather--at last!!

Enjoyed your S.F. post and shared it with our S.F. son who was here for Christmas.

Best,
Bonnie

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Split pea is one of my favorite soups. I'm not fond of the weather confusions either. Makes it difficult to know what season it is.

Just remember that chasing an active infant will keep you in great shape and you don't have to go sweat that the gym like the rest of us.
Sam

Simply Life said...

this soup looks great! and yes, I'm wondering about the weather at all but would NOT complain if we went straight to spring!

nancy at good food matters said...

not only are we in a new year, but this month is galloping along--over a third gone!

weather is strange, extreme in swings here too. but your soup looks supremely hearty and comforting-- enjoyable throughout the season.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

It has definitely been a wonky winter but this soup will be perfect for the wintry weather coming to Boston this week!

Belinda @zomppa said...

As I sit wrapped up with this gray weather, this is definitely looking comfy and bright!

Megan said...

Split pea is one of my favorite soups. I usually bug my mom to make it for me after Easter with the leftover ham.

We're definitely dipping into cooler temps again, so this would be perfect right now.

Mari @ Mari's Cakes said...

I love this soup. I make a big pot when I make some. One bowl is never enough.

Have a wonderful day :)

Kim said...

I can't say I really care much for the spring-like winter we are having. It just doesn't seem natural, does it?

Your soup looks absolutely amazing and full of all sorts of goodness.

My new year's resolution is learning how to say no. I'm having fun with it so far.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. @Kim, that is one of the best resolutions I've heard so far. Good for you!

otehlia cassidy said...

Our weather is like spring here, too, in WI. I am having a hard time not enjoying it:) And I still like soups, too. I have been thinking of making a bean soup, but I think this one sounds better! Thanks for the inspiration.

Claudia said...

Love this - will try this version - I cannot get enough of soup in the winter. And for the record, winter returned to MN today. The squirrels are chubby and I have enjoyed the spring break.

Velva said...

I really enjoy making split pea soup with ham in the cooler months. My family ate it often growing-up all year...There was no such thing as a cooler month in south Florida. It was a soup that stuck with me....And I prepare it now for my family.

Your presentation style looks amazing...I have no doubt that the soup was delicious.

Velva

A Canadian Foodie said...

Mom made this when I was a child and I hated it. I still won't go near it, but I have to say your photos are STUNNING!
:)
V

Gypsy Girl Gourmet said...

Yum! When I was a nanny in Hawaii my boss made Split Pea Soup, and although I was hesitant to try it at first, I loved it. I've been thinking of making it lately and think yours sounds perfect!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Split pea is one of my favorite winter soups, so hearty and delicious. Snow is predicted for the weekend and this will be a great addition of the menu.

Victoria said...

I hope your family is doing well, Christine! Your soup would be perfect on this dismal, rainy New York day...

tasteofbeirut said...

I have not had split pea soup in decades and your post is making me feel like I have been missing a great dish!

lostpastremembered said...

My mom would make this often. She would even announce "pea soup weather" kind of a joke about cold and drizzle in an English sort of way and the need for something to stick to your ribs and fill the house with that amazing smell. It's like what a home should smell like in winter.

Jenny said...

This looks really good...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe...

Can't wait to try it!!!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Split pea is also one of my favorite soups. I love the sound of the smoked ham flavor in this recipe. I'm taking a copy to give it a try!

55F here yesterday - unheard of! Today our first measurable snow of the season. Crazy weather!

kitchen roach/galley roach said...

I love split pea soup and like the simplicity of this recipe. That's the best of blogging split pea soup - keep it simple.

Trix said...

We are having the same weather you and I, and it is a bit odd, though I admite I prefer it to frigid January temps. When they do return - as I know they will! - this soup looks like the perfect remedy!

Jamie said...

Isn't it funny that I've been craving split pea soup for the past month! Is it the cold weather? I haven't made it (I am ashamed to admit that we have bought it once ready made!) but you have given me a fabulous recipe now! Yay! Looks perfect!

Gloria said...

Wow! How beautiful pictures and look delicious!! gloria

Beth said...

I've been making soup too. It's perfect for the cold weather!

Esi said...

The west coast is also having an unusually warm winter, though things seem to have cooled down a bit. Nice to get back in the kitchen!

Barbara said...

A lovely soup and comfort personified!
But I made pea soup for my parents for 10 years when they were ill and just couldn't make even one more serving!

Amy said...

I find that a lot of people don't like split pea soup, but it is one of my favorites! Yours looks delicious and comforting. I love all the vegetables in it, too.

CollectIn Texas Gal said...

This is my first visit to your very informative and up to date blog. Visiting from Fuel My Blog Food List.

Being Gluten Intolerant, I'm always looking for recipes that are adaptable to a GF diet. This recipe with it's all natural and fresh ingredients is perfect. Thanks so much!!!

I share my Gluten Free Cooking and Baking on my blog...CollectInTexas Gal. I'll be adding your Blog to my Food Bloggers List, and CollectInTexas Gal to your Followers...Sue

Erica said...

Comforting,Rich and Delicious! One of my favorite soups! Happy 2012!

Lori said...

Split pea soup is one of those foods that got the yuck reaction when we were kids. But as an adult I'm ready to revisit it and this looks amazing.

El said...

I've never made split pea soup but look forward to giving a hamless version a try. I love the top photo especially. Very cool!