Split Pea Soup

So many of us have only had Split Pea soup made from a can – it doesn’t come as a surprise that the humble Split Pea Soup isn’t the most popular of soups. Done right, though, this homey soup is a meal in itself – and this one has incredible flavor!

Old-Fashioned Split Pea Soup
Old-Fashioned Split Pea Soup

 Fortified with vegetables, topped with a swirl of balsamic and a bit of red onion to add just the right bite – and served with plain old saltines, this soup deserves a place in your winter repertoire of recipes!

Like its counterpart, Navy Bean Soup, Split Pea is down right cheap to make. I normally double this soup and freeze half – It freezes well, in individual portions or as a whole. It generally separates a bit when thawed, but simply stir back together and heat slowly on the stove top or in the microwave and its back to its lovely self.

Old-Fashioned Split Pea Soup
Old-Fashioned Split Pea Soup

I’m pretty sure I adapted and streamlined this from a CI recipe – the main takeaway was the browning and caramelizing of the vegetables. The bit of sugar, while not noticeable in the soup, worked marvels in getting the most flavor possible from the carrots, celery and onion and really made a huge difference in the finished soup.

The little amount of money it takes to make this soup doesn’t affect the flavor – I’ve only had one Split Pea Soup, ever, that came close to rivaling this one, at an Eastern European Deli, Krazmarczuks. One plus of having it at home? I’m not tempted by their lovely tortes and imported delicacies!

Old-Fashioned Split Pea Soup
Old-Fashioned Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

  • 1 ham bone
  • 3 quarts water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 pound split peas
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of sugar
  • ¾ cup diced potato, preferably red, but any will do, peeled
  • Pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar, optional
  • Minced red onion, optional

Place ham, bay leaves and three quarts water in large pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours till tender. Remove bone and when cool enough to handle, shred meat and set aside. Skim as much fat as possible from the top of the broth. (This is a good place to stop if you’re not making it for tonight’s meal – just refrigerate the broth and skim off any fat that accumulates on the top the next day.)

Add split peas and thyme, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.

While this cooks, heat oil in a large skillet and saute onions, carrots and celery till liquid evaporates and vegetables begin to brown on the edges, five to six minutes. Reduce heat and add sugar, garlic and butter, reduce heat and cook slowly, stirring now and then till vegetables reach a deep caramelized color, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cook this slowly.

After the peas have cooked for about 45 minutes, add in the cooked vegetables, the potatoes and the shredded ham meat, simmer till consistency of heavy cream, about 20 more minutes. Season with pepper.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and minced red onion, if desired.

From the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving money/time and managing this recipe on a budget.
  • Follow my Strategies – You’ll see them all explained on the upper left tab of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.

Nutrition: (varies, but based on one cup of shredded ham)

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 394 Calories; 10g Fat (21.9% calories from fat); 24g Protein; 55g Carbohydrate; 21g Dietary Fiber; 18mg Cholesterol; 364mg Sodium. Exchanges: 3 1/2 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1 1/2 Fat

Pay Off

A meal that’s dirt cheap, but still feels a little special. Serve with crackers, warm rolls or a toasted sandwich, if you’d like, although it’s hearty enough to feel like a meal on it’s own.

Split Pea Soup with Ham last made February 2012, $1.67 for six servings. It’s fun to compare the old photo below, with the new photos, above…Same recipe. I almost think the old looks more appetizing although the photo itself has some major flaws!

Old-fashioned Split Pea Soup
Old-fashioned Split Pea Soup

9 thoughts on “Split Pea Soup”

    1. Thanks Rebecca, and I’m so happy you let me know you liked it! I wish I were there, now for a bowl because I am now the only person in the household that likes Split Pea! Happy New Year’s to you both!

    1. Thanks,Lolly – I’m really on a difficult learning curve with my new photography application! Hopefully, I’ll get better…The soup is better than it looks here! How do you like the new layout?

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