Venture into the culinary embrace of comfort with our split pea and ham soup recipe. Step by step, we’ll immerse you in a symphony of flavors that soothe the soul and energize the body. Cherish the rich, savory infusion of smoked ham, blending harmoniously with tender split peas.
Unearth the essence of home cooking, reimagined and streamlined for today’s busy gourmands. Heartwarming and wholesome, this soup recipe ensures every spoonful is a delightful surprise. Explore the lingering notes of aromatic vegetables and hearty broth, elevating the humble split pea to the dish’s star.
Conjure this liquid gold in your kitchen today and bask in the envious praises of friends and family. Remember, nourishment isn’t just about what’s in the pot but also the love and passion stirred in. Experience this soup’s timeless allure and see how simplicity wins in the gastronomic journey.
Don’t just cook; create and savor with our split pea and ham soup recipe.
What Is Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe?
Split pea and ham soup is a classic, hearty dish. It uses dried split peas, simmered until soft with chunks of savory ham. The soup often includes a medley of vegetables, such as onions, carrots, and celery, enhancing the depth of flavor. Garlic and herbs like thyme and bay leaf lend their aromatic notes.
Ham bones or hocks are used for a richer, meatier broth. Some versions also add potatoes for additional heartiness. This soup is cooked slowly, melding all the flavors together. The result? A thick, comforting soup, perfect for chilly evenings, complete with the smoky richness of ham.
History Of Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe
Split pea and ham soup dates back to antiquity, tracing its roots to Greek and Roman societies that cultivated peas around 500 to 400 BC. Peasants enjoyed this humble dish across Europe for centuries due to the availability and affordability of peas.
The inclusion of ham came later, adding depth to the soup. This soup reached peak popularity in America when it became the meal choice of the second U.S. President, John Adams. Today, it’s a beloved comfort dish worldwide, especially in chilly weather.
Interesting Facts About Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe
- Ancient Origins: Split pea soup’s history traces back to ancient Greece and Rome, where it was consumed as early as 500 to 400 BC.
- Famous Admirer: The second U.S. President, John Adams, enjoyed split pea and ham soup frequently, helping its popularity in America.
- Cultural Variations: Many cultures have their version of this soup, including the Netherlands with “Erwtensoep” and the UK with “Pease pudding.”
- Health Benefits: The soup is packed with proteins and fiber due to the split peas, making it nutritious.
- Emergency Rations: Instant versions of split pea soup have been used as emergency rations owing to their non-perishability.
- Variety in Ingredients: While the main ingredients remain consistent, variations exist, including vegetables, spices, or adding potatoes for a thicker consistency.
- Dutch New Year’s Tradition: In the Netherlands, split pea soup or “Snert” is traditionally eaten after the New Year’s dive (Nieuwjaarsduik), a cold swim in the North Sea.
- Versatile Use of Ham: The soup can be made using various parts of ham, including bones, hocks, or even leftover ham from festive meals, reducing food waste.
What Makes Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe Special?
- Historical Legacy: The soup’s long history, tracing back to ancient civilizations, adds a rich cultural context to each serving.
- Simplicity: Despite its complex flavors, the recipe is straightforward, requiring minimal culinary skills, making it accessible to everyone.
- Comfort Food: It’s often classified as comfort food, offering warmth and satisfaction, especially during colder seasons.
- Nutritional Value: The soup is packed with proteins, fiber, and other essential nutrients due to the split peas and vegetables used.
- Versatility: The recipe can be easily tweaked based on personal preferences, accommodating different types of ham, vegetables, and spices.
- Low Waste: It provides an excellent way to use leftovers, particularly ham bones or hocks from other meals.
- Global Variations: The international variations add a global appeal, allowing one to explore different cultures through this simple dish.
- Slow Cooking Delight: The slow simmering process enhances the depth of flavors, making it a culinary delight despite its humble ingredients.
|Leftover ham bone with meat attached||1 pound|
|Chopped onions||1 cup|
|Garlic, minced||2 cloves|
|Freshly ground black pepper||2 teaspoons|
|Dried split peas||1 pound|
|Chopped carrots||1 cup|
- Ham Bone: If you don’t have a leftover ham bone, purchase one from a butcher shop or use ham hocks instead for a similar smoky flavor.
- Onions and Garlic: When chopping onions and mincing garlic, ensure they’re cut uniformly for consistent flavor throughout the soup.
- Black Pepper: Use freshly ground black pepper, which retains more flavor and aroma than pre-ground pepper.
- Split Peas: Rinse and sort your split peas before use to remove any debris. No need to soak them, as they cook relatively quickly compared to other legumes.
- Carrots: Chop the carrots into bite-sized pieces for a hearty texture and faster cooking time. Choose fresh and firm carrots for the best flavor.
- Additional Ingredients: Add other vegetables like celery or potatoes for extra nutrients and texture. You can also throw in herbs like thyme or bay leaf for additional aroma.
- Salt: Depending on the saltiness of your ham, you may need to adjust the amount of salt in the recipe. It’s best to taste and adjust seasonings toward the end of the cooking process.
Can You Vary The Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe With Other Ingredients?
Absolutely, the split pea and ham soup recipe is quite flexible and can be adjusted to fit different dietary needs:
- Vegan/Vegetarian: You can skip the ham and use vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef. Add smoked paprika or liquid smoke to mimic the smoky flavor of the ham. Include more vegetables or tofu for added protein.
- Gluten-Free: The classic split pea and ham soup is already gluten-free. Just ensure that any broth or stock used is also gluten-free.
- Paleo: Replace split peas with other paleo-friendly vegetables like sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Use a ham bone from a ham cured without added sugars to keep it paleo-compliant.
- Keto: While split peas are not typically part of a ketogenic diet due to their high carbohydrate content, you can make a similar soup using lower-carb vegetables like cauliflower or zucchini and using ham or bacon for the protein source.
- Whole30: For a Whole30 compliant version, replace the split peas with a compliant vegetable like turnips or rutabaga and ensure your ham is sugar-free and Whole30 compliant.
- To make this hearty ham and split pea soup, begin by boiling the ham bone in a large pot, then let it simmer overnight to extract the rich flavors.
- Remove the bone, excess fat, and cartilage while retaining the tender ham meat in the pot.
- Intensify the taste by adding onion, garlic, and black pepper, and let it simmer for an hour.
- Next, incorporate the split peas and carrots, allowing the soup to simmer for another hour until the peas are tender and creamy.
- Stir well, adjusting the seasoning to your liking.
- Serve the warm and comforting soup, and savor every spoonful of its deliciousness.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Smoky Vegan Variation: Replace ham with smoked tofu or tempeh. Add smoked paprika for extra smokiness.
- Creamy Version: After cooking, blend half the soup and mix it back in. It adds a lovely creaminess without using dairy.
- Hearty Vegetable Twist: Add celery, potatoes, or other root vegetables to make the soup heartier.
- Spicy Kick: Add a dash of cayenne or a spoonful of your favorite hot sauce for a warming kick.
- Toppings and Add-ons: Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme. Top with croutons for added crunch. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt can add a cooling contrast.
- Cheesy Delight: Sprinkle-grated sharp cheddar or parmesan on top for a cheesy finish.
- Bacon Bliss: Crisp some bacon and use it as a topping for added crunch and flavor.
Scaling The Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe
The beauty of soup recipes, including split pea and ham soup, is that they can be easily scaled up or down according to the required servings.
- You can double or triple the recipe if you’re cooking for a larger crowd or want to make enough for leftovers. Suppose the original recipe calls for a 1-pound ham bone, 1 cup of onions, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of pepper, 1 pound of split peas, and 1 cup of chopped carrots. In that case, you can double these quantities for double the servings.
- Ensure your cooking pot is large enough to accommodate the increased volume. You might also need to adjust the cooking time slightly, as a larger volume of soup may take longer to boil and simmer.
- To scale down the recipe, you can halve the quantities. For example, use a 1/2-pound ham bone, 1/2 cup of onions, 1 clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 pound of split peas, and 1/2 cup of chopped carrots.
- Remember to reduce the cooking time, as a smaller quantity will cook faster. A smaller pot must also ensure the ingredients are correctly submerged in the broth.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
The garnish for split pea and ham soup often depends on personal preference and the variations of the soup, but some commonly used garnishes include:
- Fresh Herbs: Freshly chopped parsley, thyme, or chives can add a pop of color and a fresh, bright flavor.
- Croutons: Croutons add a delightful crunch that contrasts with the creamy soup.
- Cheese: A sprinkle of grated Parmesan or sharp Cheddar cheese can add a delicious savory element.
- Sour Cream or Yogurt: A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt can add a tangy contrast and a creamy texture.
- Bacon: Crispy, crumbled bacon or pancetta adds a smoky flavor and a pleasing crunch.
- Extra Ham: Extra diced or shredded ham can be sprinkled on top for added meatiness.
- Drizzle of Olive Oil: A slight drizzle of high-quality olive oil before serving can add richness and a glossy finish to the soup.
Can I Make Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
Yes, you can prepare split pea and ham soup in a slow cooker and an Instant Pot. Here are brief instructions for each:
- Place the ham bone, onions, garlic, carrots, split peas, and pepper in the slow cooker.
- Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients.
- Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Check the soup occasionally; add more water if it’s getting too thick.
- Once the peas are soft, remove the ham bone. Strip off any remaining ham and stir it back into the soup.
- Before serving, season the soup with salt to taste and garnish as desired.
- Set the Instant Pot to the sauté function. Add a bit of oil and sauté the onions and garlic until fragrant.
- Add the ham bone, carrots, split peas, and pepper. Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients.
- Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to the Soup function, then set the timer for 15 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then use the quick-release method to release the remaining pressure.
- Open the lid, remove the ham bone, strip off any remaining ham, and stir it back into the soup.
- Season the soup with salt to taste and garnish as desired before serving.
Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
You can certainly use store-bought or homemade broth in your split pea and ham soup recipe. Both options have their benefits.
- This is a convenient option when you’re short on time. It’s readily available and often comes in various flavors, such as vegetable, chicken, or beef. When buying store-bought broth, choose a low-sodium version to control the salt level in your soup.
- Making your broth allows you to control the ingredients and the flavor profile. It’s a great way to use leftover bones and vegetable scraps, reducing food waste. While it does require more time and effort than store-bought broth, it can be made in large batches and frozen for future use.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe?
Certainly! One of the advantages of cooking is that you can experiment and tailor recipes to your liking. Here are some variations for the split pea and ham soup:
- Meat: While ham is traditional, you can try using smoked turkey or even diced smoked sausage. If you’re looking to go leaner, the chicken will also work.
- Fish: Adding fish to split pea soup is unique. However, if you’re adventurous, smoked fish like trout or salmon could provide a different yet delightful twist.
- Pasta: Adding small pasta like ditalini, elbow macaroni, or orzo can turn the soup into a hearty pasta dish. Just be mindful that pasta can absorb much liquid, so you may need to add more broth.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables to the soup. Celery, leeks, parsnips, turnips, or potatoes would all be lovely. Green vegetables like kale or spinach can be added near the end of cooking for color and extra nutrients.
Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe
- Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality, fresh ingredients for the best flavor. If using a ham bone, ensure it has a good amount of meat for extra flavor and texture.
- Rinse Peas: Always rinse split peas before using them to remove any dust or debris.
- Chop Consistently: When chopping vegetables, aim for uniform pieces to ensure they cook evenly.
Cooking Time Tips
- Simmer Gently: Let the soup simmer gently on low heat. A slow cook allows the flavors to develop and the split peas to soften to the right texture.
- Check Liquid Level: Check the soup regularly, particularly if it’s simmering for a long time. If the soup becomes too thick, add more water or broth.
- Test for Doneness: Depending on age, split peas can vary in cooking time. Begin checking for doneness after about an hour of simmering. The soup is ready when the peas have broken down and thickened.
- Season Last: Salt can prevent split peas from softening, so it’s best to add salt near the end of the cooking process.
- Storing and Reheating: The soup will thicken as it cools and may need additional liquid when reheating. It can be stored in the fridge for up to one week or frozen for up to three months.
A serving of split pea and ham soup offers an array of essential nutrients. Thanks to ham and peas, it’s high in protein, supporting muscle growth and repair. It’s rich in dietary fiber from the peas, promoting digestive health and satiety. The soup also offers vitamins A and C from the carrots and onions, which boost immunity.
Additionally, the ham bone contributes minerals like calcium and phosphorus, which are crucial for bone health. However, keep an eye on sodium content, especially if using store-bought broth or cured ham.
What Are The Total Calories In Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe?
The total calories in a split pea and ham soup recipe can vary greatly depending on the specific ingredients and quantities used. However, on average, a one-cup serving of split pea and ham soup can contain around 200-300 calories. Adding extra ingredients or toppings like croutons or cheese will increase the caloric content.
Dietary Restrictions Of The Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe
The classic split pea and ham soup recipe may not be suitable for certain dietary restrictions. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Vegetarian/Vegan: The traditional recipe includes ham, which isn’t ideal for vegetarians or vegans. However, it can be modified by substituting the ham with smoked tofu or vegetables and using vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef broth.
- Gluten-Free: The recipe is naturally gluten-free, but if using store-bought broth, ensure it’s labeled gluten-free.
- Dairy-Free: The soup doesn’t typically include dairy products, making it suitable for individuals on a dairy-free diet.
- Low-Sodium: Ham, especially if cured, can be high in sodium, which might not be suitable for a low-sodium diet. You can opt for low-sodium ham or reduce the amount used.
- Keto/Low-Carb: Split peas are high in carbohydrates and not typically suitable for a ketogenic or low-carb diet. However, a similar soup could be made using lower-carb vegetables like cauliflower.
- Halal/Kosher: The use of ham makes the recipe non-compliant with Halal and Kosher dietary laws. This can be remedied by substituting the ham with a compliant protein, such as chicken or beef.
Health Benefits Of The Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe
The split pea and ham soup recipe can provide a variety of health benefits, primarily attributed to its main ingredients:
- High in Protein: Both the ham and split peas contribute to a high protein content, vital for muscle growth, repair, and overall bodily function.
- Rich in Fiber: Split peas are a great source of nutritional fiber, which supports weight management by managing blood sugar levels, improving digestion, and promoting a sensation of fullness.
- Packed with Vitamins and Minerals: This soup provides essential vitamins like vitamin A from carrots and vitamin C from onions. Ham, especially when cooked with the bone, can contribute essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus, supporting bone health.
- Heart Health: The split peas’ fiber, potassium, and other heart-healthy nutrients can support cardiovascular health.
- Boosts Immunity: The vitamins and minerals in the soup, such as vitamin C and zinc, can help strengthen the immune system.
- Energizing: The complex carbohydrates from the split peas provide sustained energy, keeping you fueled and satiated for longer.
How Can I Make Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe Lower In Sodium?
Here are a few tips to make your split pea and ham soup lower in sodium:
- Broth: Use a low-sodium or sodium-free broth. If you’re making your broth, don’t add any salt.
- Ham: Choose fresh, lean pork or ham instead of cured or smoked ham, which can be high in sodium.
- Seasoning: Limit the amount of added salt. You can also use a salt substitute if desired.
- Flavor Boosters: Increase other seasonings like herbs and spices (thyme, black pepper, garlic, etc.) to add flavor without additional sodium.
- Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh vegetables instead of canned ones, which often contain added salt.
- Rinse Legumes: If you’re using canned peas, rinse them thoroughly before using them to remove any added salt.
How Can I Make Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe Soup Lower In Sugar?
The traditional split pea and ham soup recipe is generally low in sugar since it primarily consists of protein and complex carbohydrates. However, to ensure your soup is as low in sugar as possible, consider these tips:
- Broth: Opt for a low-sugar or sugar-free broth. Some commercial broths may contain added sugars.
- Ham: Ensure your ham doesn’t have any added sugars. Some ham, especially cured or smoked, can have sugar in the brine or glaze.
- Vegetables: Stick to low-sugar vegetables. Onions and carrots naturally have some sugars but are usually small and offer essential nutrients. Avoid adding high-sugar vegetables like sweet potatoes.
- Legumes: Use dried split peas instead of canned, as canned legumes can sometimes contain added sugars. If you do use canned, be sure to rinse them well.
- Seasoning: Avoid using any premade seasoning mixes that may contain added sugars. Stick to single herbs and spices.
How To Serve The Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe At Its Best?
The presentation of a dish can greatly enhance its appeal. Here are some suggestions to serve your split pea and ham soup in the best way:
- Pre-Warmed Bowls: Serve the soup in pre-warmed bowls to ensure it stays hot longer.
- Garnish: Top the soup with a fresh garnish, such as chopped parsley, thyme, or crispy croutons. A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt can add a beautiful contrast.
- Bread on Side: Accompany the soup with a slice of crusty bread or a bread roll for dipping.
- Crackers: Offering a side of whole-grain crackers can add a nice crunch.
- Pairings: Consider what you’re serving the soup with. It pairs well with a green salad for a lighter meal or a sandwich for a heartier lunch.
- Serveware: Use colorful bowls to make the soup pop. Or, for a rustic look, serve the soup in bread bowls.
- Herb Sprig: For an elegant touch, place a sprig of fresh herbs, like thyme or parsley, on the edge of the bowl.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe
The hearty and rich flavors of split pea and ham soup pair well with various side dishes. Here are some suggestions:
- Grilled Cheese: A classic grilled cheese sandwich with a twist – try using different types of cheese or add some caramelized onions for extra flavor.
- Turkey and Avocado: A light, fresh sandwich with turkey, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes can complement the rich soup well.
- Ham and Swiss: Continue the ham theme with a simple ham and Swiss sandwich on rye bread.
- Green Salad: A simple salad of mixed greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and a vinaigrette dressing can offer a refreshing contrast to the soup.
- Apple and Walnut Salad: The sweetness of apples and the crunch of walnuts make this a perfect companion to the savory soup.
- Beet and Goat Cheese Salad: Earthy beets paired with creamy goat cheese and arugula offer a flavor contrast that pairs well with the soup.
- Bruschetta: Tomato and basil bruschetta offers a fresh, tangy start to the meal.
- Cheese Board: A selection of your favorite cheeses, served with grapes and crackers, can be a delightful opener.
- Shrimp Cocktail: A classic shrimp cocktail can provide a light and refreshing contrast to the hearty soup.
How Long Can We Store The Split Pea And Ham Soup?
Split pea and ham soup can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Store it in an airtight container to maintain its freshness and prevent it from absorbing other flavors in the fridge.
If you want to store the soup longer, it freezes very well. The soup can be frozen in an airtight, freezer-safe jar or sturdy freezer bag for 2-3 months.
Can I Make Split Pea And Ham Soup Recipe In Advance?
Yes, split pea and ham soup is a great make-ahead dish. Making it a day or two in advance can enhance the flavors as they have more time to meld together. After cooking, allow the soup to cool before transferring it to an airtight container.
It can then be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently on the stove. If the soup has thickened too much in the fridge, you can thin it with water or broth.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
Leftover split pea and ham soup is quite versatile and can be repurposed in several ways:
- Reheat and Eat: The simplest option is to reheat the soup for another meal. The flavors often deepen and improve after a day or two.
- Add to a Stew: Use the soup as a base for a hearty stew. You can add extra vegetables, grains, or even another type of protein.
- Pasta Sauce: Thicken the soup slightly and use it as a sauce for pasta. Add a bit of cream or cheese for a richer sauce.
- Baked with Rice: Mix the soup with cooked rice, top with cheese, and bake until golden for a comforting casserole.
- Filling for Pot Pie: Use the thickened soup for a rustic pot pie.
- Topping for Baked Potatoes: Warm the soup and spoon it over baked potatoes for a hearty meal.
The tools and equipment needed to prepare split pea and ham soup are relatively standard and can be found in most kitchens. They include:
- Large Pot/Dutch Oven: A large pot or Dutch oven is essential for simmering the soup. It should be large enough to accommodate all the ingredients.
- Knife and Cutting Board: A sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board are needed for chopping the vegetables and cutting the ham.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: These are necessary to accurately measure the ingredients, especially for the split peas and any spices you use.
- Stirring Spoon: A large spoon will be needed to mix the ingredients while cooking.
- Ladle: This will be useful for serving the soup.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Purpose Of Simmering The Ham Bone Overnight In The Initial Step Of The Recipe?
Simmering the ham bone overnight allows for the extraction of flavors and nutrients, creating a rich and flavorful base for your soup. The bone collagen can also add body to the broth, giving the soup a pleasing texture.
Why Might My Split Peas Not Be Softening During The Cooking Process?
If your split peas are not softening as expected, it might be due to the age of the peas. Older pets can take longer to cook. Also, salt or acidic ingredients can prevent legumes from softening, so it’s best to add these near the end of the cooking process.
Can I Use Green And Yellow Split Peas Interchangeably In The Soup Recipe?
Yes, you can use either green or yellow split peas in this recipe. While they have slightly different flavors – green being slightly sweeter and yellow being milder – they can work well in this soup.
How Can I Add A Smoky Flavor To The Soup If I’m Not Using Ham Or Bacon?
Adding a bit of liquid smoke or smoked paprika to the soup can achieve a smoky flavor. Another option is to use chipotle chili powder, which adds both smokiness and a touch of heat.
If I Don’t Have A Ham Bone, What Can I Use As A Substitute?
If you don’t have a ham bone, you can use ham hocks, smoked turkey legs, or even a bit of bacon to infuse the soup with a similar smoky, savory flavor. Make a vegetable-based broth and use smoked spices for taste if you prefer not to use meat.
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