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
- 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.
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.
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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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.