Old Fashioned Split Pea Soup

Dad’s Old Fashioned Split Pea Soup

Old Fashioned Split Pea Soup

This was one of my father’s (Chef Frank Perkins) favorite dishes, and we weathered out many a snowy winter night with big steaming bowls of this and a stack of toasted French bread slices.

Typically, a split-pea soup would use only onions and carrots, but Pop’s southern roots added the celery for a true mirepoix which, I think, adds enormously to the flavor.

My daughter prefers it with oyster crackers, but either way…it’s pretty awesome.


Dad’s Old Fashioned Split Pea Soup

Total Time: 1 hr 40 min     Prep: 20 min     Cook: 1 hr 20 min
Serves 8

  • 1 lb dried split peas
  • 1 lb diced smoked ham
  • 1 ham hock (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme

Rinse the dried peas and set aside.

If using a ham hock: Score the ham hock. Place in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

mirepoix for split pea soup

In a large pot, heat oil 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 (this is a “mirepoix“).

Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Old Fashioned Split Pea Soup Recipe

Add the ham hock (opt) and/or ham and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown. Add the drained peas, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes, and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

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Old Fashioned Split Pea Soup Recipe

Add 8 cups of water, the bay leaf and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 1 hour.  Add water as needed, if the soup becomes too thick.

Remove the bay leaf, adjust seasoning to taste, and serve immediately.

This soup would pair nicely with a glass of Merlot.