About This Recipe:
Split pea soup holds a special place in my heart, an affection that might surprise many since it isn’t typically considered a CITG classic garden-to-table dish. My fondness for split pea soup runs deep; it was always my birthday meal of choice, and I have fond memories of visiting my sister at our, now defunct, local diner every Saturday (the only day they served it) to enjoy a bowl accompanied by extra crispy French fries. The combination of smoky ham, ideal for using up Christmas leftovers, and hearty peas creates comfort in a bowl. Preparing it is surprisingly straightforward. In my recipe, I start by sautéing mirepoix with salt pork, setting aside the latter to use as a flavorful garnish later. A word of caution: be judicious with the salt, as both the ham and salt pork contribute a considerable amount of it. I love to serve this soup with crispy potatoes in any form. My go-to is to top it with smashed, crispy baby gold Yukon potatoes and a few slivers of crispy salt pork, adding a crunch and richness to every spoonful.
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How To Make This Recipe:Print
1 lb dried split peas
1/2 lb salt pork, diced (substitutes: bacon, pancetta)
2 tbsp olive oil (optional, see below)
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bone-in ham steaks (about 1–1.5 lbs total)
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
- Rinse the split peas in a colander under cold water. Set aside.
- In a large pot, add the diced salt pork. Cook over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the pork pieces are crispy. Remove the crispy pork bits and set aside, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.
- In the pot with the rendered fat, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Place the bone-in ham steaks in the pot. Add the rinsed split peas around and on top of the ham steaks.
- Pour in the broth. Add thyme, bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper (be cautious with the salt as the salt pork and ham steaks will add saltiness).
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let it simmer for about 1 hour, or until the peas are tender and the meat easily separates from the bone. Stir occasionally.
- Carefully remove the ham steaks from the soup. Let them cool slightly, then remove the meat from the bones. Shred or chop the ham into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the chopped ham and stir to distribute evenly.
- Remove the bay leaves. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Garnish with a few slivers of crispy salt pork (or bacon/pancetta if using).