My Mom had cooked a smoked ham and decided that it was just too salty for her liking – so I ended up with 3/4 of a smoked ham as leftovers. The first thing I thought of making was split pea soup. I’ve never made it before, but have enjoyed the road signs and ordering it at Pea Soup Andersen’s – which until now - I always thought was Andersen’s Split Pea Soup… learn something new with each blog post I research. Trips down to Southern California to see Ace’s family began or ended with a side trip to Santa Nella off Interstate 5 for a bowl of Andersen’s soup. Good memories indeed.
I asked a friend if she had any good recipes and she didn’t, so she did a search and found Emeril Lagasse’s recipe on The Food Network website.
While I didn’t have a ham hock and Parmesan truffled potato chips were just a little too fancy for everyday lunches, I managed to adjust the recipe a bit to accommodate the ingredients I did have on hand. I added more carrots, pepper, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme and water – adjustments are reflected below.
- 1 Pound Dried Split Peas
- 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup Finely Chopped Yellow Onions
- 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Celery
- 1 Cup Finely Chopped Carrots
- 2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic
- 1 Pound Chopped Smoked Ham
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1-2 Teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 8-10 Cups Water
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
- Place the peas in a large pot or bowl, cover with water by 2 inches and soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain the peas and set aside.
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
- Add the smoked ham and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown. Add the drained peas, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes, and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add 8 cups of water, the bay leaf and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 1 hour. (Add more water as needed, if the soup becomes too thick or dry.)
- Remove the bay leaf and discard. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve immediately.
I ended up soaking the peas overnight. The liquid absorbed and I was left with a giant bowl of green peas that fascinated my little helper.
Seriously the cutest sous chef on the planet…
I used the strainer to drain the peas – there was a little water left in the bowl.
In a large pot, I melted the butter over medium-high heat. I then added the onions and cooked, stirring, for 2 minutes. The celery and carrots went in next and I cooked/stirred for about 3 minutes until soft. I added the garlic and cooked, stirring for a minute or so.
I diced up the smoked ham and added that next.
My spices went in next – ground pepper, salt and red pepper flakes.
Water, a bay leaf and fresh thyme were next into the pot.
Let’s face it, split pea soup is just not pretty… it doesn’t photograph well, but man does it taste good.
I ended up adding 8-10 cups of water to the recipe ingredients – I used 8 cups and could probably have used 9 if not 10. I thickened very fast. Other than being on the thicker side, the flavor was spot on. Several people mentioned using a combination of chicken stock/broth and water in their recipe reviews, but I felt that the smoked ham was salty as is, and I didn’t have any low sodium broth. I just went with water and wasn’t disappointed in the results. I ended up finishing off my bowls with fresh thyme and some garlic croutons for my lunches during the week.
A huge thanks to my Mom for giving me the ham and to my friend Kristen for helping me find Emeril’s recipe. Not sure why I waited so long to give split pea soup a try, it was pretty easy. I’m also over my “soak overnight” fear, so lots of other dried legumes await.