Today’s recipe for Yellow Split Pea Soup with Ham is one of my favorites, but I don’t make it often. It is lush and comforting, with the savory flavor of the ham permeating every bite. It is the perfect way to use the bone from your Easter ham or any time you serve ham to a crowd!
Because I am usually just cooking for myself and The Artist, I rarely have the luxury of buying a large ham. But this year I told him I needed one. Just like I needed that pair of shoes or the new dish for photography … sometimes a girl just needs something. LOL
We thoroughly enjoyed the ham but what to do with the bone? I love split pea soup, the challenge was that The Artist doesn’t. Hmmm, how am I going to make something that I love and that will be good enough to change his mind?
I knew a big part of his dislike stemmed from its appearance. He hated the green color. No problem, I bought yellow split peas! Have you seen yellow split peas? They really are lovely, a slightly milder flavor than the green ones, a touch sweeter, and packed with protein. One problem solved.
On packages of dried beans, peas, or other legumes there is a warning to pick through them and discard any small pebbles or stones. This is not a casual notice that you can skip over. And just to prove that to you, here is a photo I took of the rock pieces I found in my bag of split peas. The easiest way to do this is to spread them out on a baking sheet (see photo above) and move them around, uncovering any hidden “treasures” or debris. It is worth the time because you would hate to have someone break a tooth!
The second issue was all the bowls of split pea soup The Artist had in the past were dull and boring. Well, that’s not an issue for me – I love using seasonings. A pinch here, a dash there, that’s what cooking is all about. Adding turmeric boosts the health benefits and makes the golden color even more intense. This time I kept it fairly simple, but next time I think I will spark it up with some more unique spices like coriander, za’atar, cardamom, ras el hanout, dukkah, etc. Add a splash of fresh lemon juice for brightness and you’ve got an entirely different soup.
And the final trick was to use a real ham bone – not just adding a few pieces of ham or bacon to the pot. Adding the bone with meat on it rounds out the flavors, adds a boost of fat for mouthfeel, and of course it adds a smoky goodness. Full, rich flavors enhancing every spoonful. There is no messing around when you have a ham bone in the soup pot!
If you want a vegetarian/vegan soup, leave out the ham bone and use vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock called for in the recipe. I would add a little smoked paprika for a touch of smokiness you would normally get from the ham. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top before serving and you will have a delightful meal.
Some people like their split pea soup really thick, more like a stew. And others prefer it looser with more broth. It is all up to you and what you like. Thickening will happen as it sits and cools. Just add more broth or water to thin it down if it gets too thick – which will happen as it sits and cools. I think the flavor is better the second day after reheating, but you judge for yourself.
I like to add little chunks of the leftover ham to the soup. It boosts the flavor and adds a nice textural contrast. Also, sprinkling the top of the bowl with a little chopped green onion and a little more of the harissa or some paprika will make it pop. Even grinding some pepper over the top will make it look more appealing. We eat with our eyes before we taste our food, so make it as pretty as you can. Your family and guests will feel extra special because you took the time (less than a minute) to make their servings look like a restaurant meal.
After you’ve finished with your Easter ham and you are wondering what to do with the bone, this Yellow Split Pea Soup with Ham is the recipe for you. Give it a try and let me know what you think. If you are like The Artist and his father, you will love it and be happy to eat bowl after bowl of it!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Key Ingredients for Yellow Split Pea Soup with Ham:
- Split peas (yellow or green), ham bone, chicken stock, water
- Onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper, thyme, turmeric, harissa
- Kosher salt, ground black pepper, chopped ham for garnishing
If you don’t have time to make soup with the leftover bone right away, go ahead and freeze it. You can use it later, just toss it in frozen and cook like normal. It will take a little longer to extract the flavor, but not a lot.
If you make soups often, you should look into getting an immersion blender. They are powerful and will puree your soups in no time without having to transfer the hot liquid to a blender. It is a stick with controls on the top and a blade on the bottom. A little like an outboard motor, it makes quick work of pureeing and is easy to clean. I consider it a great investment that will last for years.
How to make Yellow Split Pea Soup with Ham:
- Carefully sort the peas and remove any small stones you find; place the peas in a colander and rinse well, then drain
- Place the peas, ham bone, stock and water in a large Dutch oven or stockpot, bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low to hold the liquid at a low simmer; stir in the vegetables and seasonings
- Cover the pot, leaving it slightly ajar to contain most of the steam; cook until vegetables are completely tender, about an hour
- Use tongs and a slotted spoon to move the ham bone to a plate; puree the soup until smooth with either an immersion blender or regular blender
- Remove any meat from the bone, chop it into bite-sized pieces and add to the soup; taste and adjust seasonings
- The soup will thicken as it cools, add more stock or water if needed to get the consistency you like; ladle into bowls and top with chopped green onions or chives for color and serve hot
If you don’t have a ham bone, I have had really good results using smoked ham hocks (ask your butcher) or smoked pork chops. They are reasonably priced and a great way to get good flavor without having to buy an entire ham.
If you are using a regular blender to puree the soup, the easiest way to clean it is to fill it about 1/3 to 1/2 full of warm water. Add a little dish soap to the water and turn it on, the soapy water will automatically clean the blender and if it is high enough, will also clean your lid! Pour out the soapy water, rinse well and set aside to dry. Voila!
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Chef’s knife or food processor
- Cutting board
- Liquid measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Baking sheet
- Large stockpot or Dutch oven
- Immersion blender or regular blender
- Serving bowls
This soup is naturally gluten-free, but make sure that the ham you started with is gluten-free. Sometimes there are additions to the liquids that are injected into hams to keep them moist. All the seasonings should be fine, but look for a certification code on the packaging and if there is any doubt, contact the manufacturer.
- 2-1/2 cups (about 1 lb) dried split peas, either green or yellow
- 1 large ham bone or 2 ham hocks
- 4 cups chicken stock (gluten-free if needed) or use all water
- 4 cups water
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 large carrots, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped, optional
- 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp harissa seasoning, optional
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 cups additional water or chicken stock, as needed
- 1 to 2 cups chopped ham, optional
- Chopped green onions or chives, for garnishing, optional
- Spread the peas out on a baking sheet and very carefully go through them and remove any small stone or pebbles. Be very careful, you don't want someone to break a tooth when eating the soup! Put the peas in a colander and rinse when done; drain.
- In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, place the split peas, ham bone, stock and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and keep the liquid at a low simmer. Stir in the vegetables, thyme, turmeric, harissa, salt, and pepper.
- Place a lid on the stockpot, slightly offset so it will contain most of the steam. Cook until the vegetables are completely tender, about an hour. Using tongs and a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ham bone to a plate.
- Use an immersion blender* to puree the soup until smooth. If you want, you can leave some of the soup unblended for a chunkier consistency.
- Remove any ham from the bone, chop the meat finely and add back to the soup. Discard the bone. The soup will thicken as it sits. If you want a thinner consistency, stir in the extra water or stock. Add the chopped ham if desired. Taste and add additional seasonings as desired. Ladle into warmed bowls, top with some chopped green onions or chives for color, and serve hot.
- * If you prefer you can use a blender, working in batches. When pureeing hot liquids in a blender, never fill the blender’s container more than half full because hot liquids expand dramatically when blended. Leave the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape, and cover the lid and top of the blender with a kitchen towel. Hold the lid in place (the towel will protect you from any splashing hot liquid) and pulse the mixture until it is fairly smooth and then turn on high to puree until completely smooth and silky. Pour the pureed soup into a large heatproof bowl or saucepan and continue pureeing until the entire pot of soup is smooth.
- Recipe found at www.theheritagecook.com
This soup is naturally gluten-free, but make sure that the ham you started with is gluten-free. Sometimes there are additions to the liquids that are injected into hams to keep them moist. All the seasonings should be fine, but look for a certification code on the packaging and if there is any doubt, contact the
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 1038mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 34g
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