Split Pea Soup And Ham Bone
Updated April 18th 2022
This Classic split pea soup recipe is an easy one and the most satisfying way to use up any leftover roasted ham and ham bone or smoked ham hocks. Dried split peas are cooked with ham hocks or ham bone and a classic mirepoix for delicious flavours. While this soup simmers away on your stove, the split peas will begin to break down, softening to a creamy texture that adds to the coziness. This filling, hearty soup is perfect for cold winter days or any time you are seeking a bit of comfort. Baking a ham or ham shank or a big ole turkey for that matter is such a rich reward. It’s really the gift that keeps on giving. Not only is there left over meat from the two but the bones are perfect for soups, they add such great flavor. Have no fear if you’re hammed out the day after and can’t think of eating another bite. I usually freeze some of the meat and I definitely freeze the ham bone to use at a later date and it’s usually to make this delicious split pea soup. Total comfort food!
How to make Split Pea Soup with Ham:
Just a few simple steps are involved in making the delicious split pea soup recipe (full recipe details below):
- Pick over the peas and remove any stones. Rinse and drain the peas.
- Saute onion, garlic, green onions, celery and carrots with olive oil in a large soup pot.
- Add the peas, ham bone or ham hock, bay leaf, thyme and broth and simmer until peas are tender and done to your liking
- Add the chopped ham to pot 10 min before soup is done
- Remove ham bone, thyme stems and bay leaf from soup then serve soup with crusty bread.
Tips and Variations for Pea Soup
- Add Vegetables: This is a hearty soup already, but you can even more veggies if you like. I like to add some cubed potatoes and even a few handfuls of chopped baby greens like kale, chard, collard greens or spinach for a boost in greens.Toss in a handful of leaves at the end of cooking and stir until wilted. I like to add in some leeks too in place of the green onions if I have leeks on hand for extra flavour.
- Thicken: When cooking the peas should break down and thicken on their own, if you feel you want it thicker, continue to simmer uncovered for a few more minutes. Just remember that the soup will thicken as it rests and cools. You might actually need to thin it out with water or extra broth when you reheat leftovers.
- No Ham Bone: If you don’t have a ham bone don’t worry. You can still get that great flavor from thick chunks of sliced ham. Throw them in with the stock and allow it to simmer along with the rest. Add crispy cooked bacon or pancetta at the end for garnish and even more flavor if you desire. You can also use 1 or 2 ham hocks instead. When soup is done you’ll remove the ham hock (or leftover ham bone!) and shred the meat from it and add ham back into the soup
- What spices to put in ham and split pea soup? I stick to thyme and bay leaf but I think if you are a fan of rosemary you could add some rosemary along with the thyme and even some chili flakes for a bit of heat or a little smoked paprika even. I also often add oregano as well. The ham adds loads of smoky flavour already but you can adjust and add whatever spices you like.
- Can I use yellow split peas instead of green split peas? Yes you absolutely can. The color of split peas is not associated with many major differences. Both have similar flavors, nutritional content and cooking time, though green split peas tend to be slightly sweeter then the yellow ones. Both are loaded with nutrients along with being high in fiber and protein.
- Do split peas need to be soaked before cooking?
They do not need to be soaked before cooking as they cook relatively quickly. Unlike beans, split peas break down easily when they are cooked in a broth. They absorb loads of moisture as they cook like red lentils, so check the soup halfway through cooking and add liquid as needed. Just pick over like you would lentils and rinse then they are ready to be cooked.
Using Leftover Roasted Ham in this Recipe:
Making split pea soup with leftover ham is one of my favourite way to use it. I usually freeze the bone in a ziplock bag and the sliced leftover ham in a separate bag. When using the frozen meat in something other than the soup I just thaw it in the fridge and I pan fry it to reheat with some of the reserved glaze. If you saved leftover meat for the soup you don’t even need to thaw it - just throw it in frozen. When it comes to the ham bone I also don’t bother to thaw it. You can if you remember but if you are like me chances are you will forget or there’s not enough room in the fridge to thaw it in there overnight.
Storing Leftover Soup
If you have any leftovers, which are always better the next day (like most soups and stews), they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Keep it tightly sealed, and remember it will thicken as it sits. Feel free to add broth or water to thin it out as needed. Reheat on the stove top on medium low or microwave individual portions.
Can I Freeze Split Pea Soup?
Yes you definitely can. First let the soup completely cool and place in airtight containers or freezer safe ziplock bags. This will keep in the freezer for up 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat the next day.
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 celery ribs chopped
- 3 green onions or 1 small leek, cleaned and sliced
- 1 large ham bone or 1-2 ham hock
- 2 cups dried green split peas (approx 1 lb), picked over and rinsed
- 8 cups chicken broth or vegetable, plus more if needed
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves and stems (use approx 1 tsp of dry alternatively)
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1-2 cups cooked ham, diced or rough chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil or butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and green onion, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook stirring occasionally for 5-8 min until vegetables have softened.
- Stir in the peas then add the ham bone, bay leaf and sprigs of thyme. Pour in the broth and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for approximately 60 minutes stirring occasionally, until split peas are tender and cooked down and soup is thickened to your desired consistency or thickness. Feel free to add more broth as needed to thin it out.
- Add diced ham during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Once done, remove and discard ham bone, bay leaf, and thyme stems. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust according to taste. Serve hot with crusty bread and enjoy
- Pureeing the soup is optional. If you want your soup completly creamy I recommend using an immersion blender to blend the soup but only after you have removed the ham bone, bay leaf and thyme stems and before adding the sliced ham. I usually leave it as is.
- Storing Leftover Soup. If you have any leftovers, which are always better the next day (like most soups and stews), they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Keep it tightly sealed, and remember it will thicken as it sits. Feel free to add broth or water to thin it out as needed. Reheat on the stove top on medium low or microwave individual portions.
- Can I Freeze Split Pea Soup? Yes you definitely can. First let the soup completely cool and place in airtight containers or freezer safe ziplock bags. This will keep in the freezer for up 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat the next day.
Recipe adapted from The Foodnetwork