Original recipe: Ham and Split Pea Soup in Cooks Illustrated The Best Soups and Stews
I've made this recipe twice, and both times it was a success. Both times I omitted the potatoes and replaced the 2.5 pounds of smoked bone-in picnic ham with a 1# ham hock.
Split Pea Soup with Ham
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 pound (2.5 cups) split peas, rinsed and picked through
- 1 t. dried thyme
- 2 T. EVOO
- 2 medium onions, chopped medium
- 2 medium carrots, chopped medium
- 2 medium stalks celery, chopped medium
- 1 T. unsalted butter
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch sugar
- Ground black pepper
- Minced red onion (optional)
- Balsamic vinegar
Place the ham, bay leaves, and 3 quarts of water in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meat is tender and pulls away from the bone, 2-2.5 hours. Remove the ham meat and bone from the bop. when the ham is cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Discard the rind, fat, and bone.
Add the split peas and thyme to the ham stock. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, until the peas are tender but not dissolved, about 45 minutes.
While the ham is simmering, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid evaporates and the vegetables begin to brown, 5-6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter, garlic, and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned, 30-35 minutes,
Add the sauteed vegetables and shredded ham to the pot with the split peas. Simmer until the peas dissolve and thicken the soup to the consistency of light cream, about 20 minutes. Season with ground black pepper to taste.
The soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days. Warm the soup over low heat.
Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with red onions, if using, and serve, passing balsamic vinegar separately.
This soup gets thicker as it sits. Add a bit of water if you prefer a thinner soup.