Recipe #16: Split Pea Soup with Hambone

A Blog Defined by the Readers

This recipe was originally included in the prior post, now retitled, French Kids Eat Everything.  The post was a little long so I asked the readers what information shouldn't have been includled.  The beautiful wife suggested that I was shamelessly digging for compliments. She knows me quite well. 

Readers who commented spoke in one voice:  It was all great, nothing should be removed.  Made my day.  But they added a suggestion:  Divide such posts in two: an introductory post followed by the recipe in a following post.  This way, recipes could easily be bookmarked for later reference without having to dig through a lot of text.  It's a good example of how readers shape this blog, continuously improving it. 

A reader who is expecting suggested a post on nutrition during pregnancy.  This is a critical topic, certainly worthy of our attention.  But it's a complex topic, a minefield, really.  I'll take a look at the available research and see what can be done.  Here's this week's recipe:

Recipe:  Split Pea Soup with Ham Bone

Along with the 52 Healthy Changes, Word of Wisdom Living also shares 52 Breakthrough Recipes.  Breakthrough Recipes rediscover traditional cooking based on whole foods, especially vegetables.  They’re about healthy food that’s affordable and enjoyable to eat.  Breakthrough dishes use basic ingredients found in most homes; you won’t have to go searching for truffle sauce with our recipes.  This is the stuff your great-grandmother cooked—but better!

Did you save the bone from your Easter ham?  Got a couple of ham hocks in the freezer?  Here’s a traditional dish good for several meals that offers flavor without resorting to sugar.  We started with the Cooks Illustrated recipe, which follows the traditional ingredients for legume soups but took too long.  Split pea soups are a thrifty dish for using left over ham bones.  We cooked this twice, once with a ham bone from the freezer, the second time using cooked ham hock/shoulder from the store.  Now it’s one of our favorites. 

Note:  Because the amount of bone will vary, we wrote the recipe per pound of bone:  A typical hambone with some meat weighs 3 lb; you can buy ham hocks by the pound. 


1# ham bone with a little meat attached, or a ham hock/shoulder

4-6 cups water, or enough to cover ham bone

1-2 bay leaves

1 cup split peas, rinsed

½ tsp thyme, dried


1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 T butter

1 garlic clove, minced (optional, except with the beautiful wife)

1 new potato, cubed

1/2 tsp salt (but taste first as the ham contains salt)

1/2 tsp pepper, freshly ground

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Tabasco sauce (optional)


1.  Place the bones with meat in a suitable pot with water and bay leaves.  Bring to boil and simmer 2-1/2 hours.  Basically, in this step you're making stock.

2.  Remove the bone from the pot and set aside to cool.  Add split peas and thyme to pot and return to boil; simmer 45 minutes until peas are soft.  (Items #3 & 4 below can be done in this time.)

3.  Add EVOO to hot frying pan and saute carrots, celery, and onion about 10 minutes until soft and moisture is evaporated.  Near the end clear a little space and add butter and optional garlic, then stir into the vegetable mixture.

4.  Remove the meat from the cooled bones and chop into small pieces. 

5.  Add the vegetable mixture, cubed potatoes, and meat to the pot of spit peas.  Check salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer 20 minutes.  Add optional Tobasco sauce to taste, if needed, and serve after cooling.  Note:  A green salad can be prepared during this step, and served with bread.

Note:  Not counting the 2-1/2 hours of step #1, this meal can be prepared in a little over an hour.  The first step can also be done more slowly using a Crockpot.  Cook it on a day when you have extra time and you’ll have enough leftovers for several more meals.  A 3# ham bone made enough for two dinners and a lunch for two people, plus we froze a quart for later.


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Reader Comments (1)

I've made this recipe about 5 times now and we love it! It's one of our "go to" soups now.

February 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDee

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