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Weekend Recipe: Split Pea and Ham Soup

Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen
Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Classic recipes utilizes the leftover bone and meat from a roast ham, but this version from America's Test Kitchen calls for ham steak and bacon. Float some homemade croutons on top to give this an extra touch!

Split Pea and Ham Soup
Serves 6 to 8

The soup can be made up to 3 days in advance. If necessary, thin it with water when reheating.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
Table salt
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
7 cups water
1 ham steak (about 1 pound), skin removed, cut into quarters
3 slices thick-cut bacon (about 4 ounces) (see note)
1 pound green split peas (about 2 cups), picked through and rinsed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 medium celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
Ground black pepper

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Heat butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add onion and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water, ham steak, bacon, peas, thyme, and bay leaves. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer, stirring frequently to keep peas from sticking to bottom. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until peas are tender but not falling apart, about 45 minutes.

Remove ham steak, cover with foil or plastic wrap to prevent drying out, and set aside. Stir in carrots and celery; continue to simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender and peas have almost completely broken down, about 30 minutes longer.

When cool enough to handle, shred ham into small bite-size pieces with two forks. Remove and discard thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and bacon slices. Stir ham back into soup and return to simmer. If the soup is too thin, increase the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the desired consistency is reached. If it is too thick, thin it with a little water. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve.

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