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Apr 2, 2007 05:32 AM

split pea soup

I just got a bunch of prosicutto bones from my favorite butcher and wanted to make some split pea soup. Any tips or good receipes? Would I just start all together, or simmer the bones first and then throw in the split peas?

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  1. When I'm doing SP soup with bones like that, I start by gently cooking some chopped onion, carrot and celery in a little oil in the pot, plus whatever dried herbs I want (usually just some thyme) until the onion gets transparent, then raise the heat, throw in the bones and stir them around for a while, then peas and water. NO salt yet! Bring to a boil, lower to a gentle simmer, and cook until the peas are tender. Fish the bones out of the pot - I use one of those slotted "Kitch-a-majig" things - and if you're going to add any diced potatoes or sausage do it now. Set the pot back on the heat, salt to taste, return to a simmer, and let cook until the peas are nice and mooshy and the potatoes (if any) are tender. You'll need to make sure the peas don't scorch on the bottom of the pan, so check frequently and add water if necessary.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Thanks. Just out of curiousity - the weather has turned really hot here - any ideas of a spring version - maybe using fresh peas or something?

      1. re: KMERC

        This time of year I tend to stop making split pea soup altogether, and make fresh pea soups instead. No meat or bones at all, just sweat some onions and a tiny bit of garlic, add in lots of freshly shelled peas, some good stock, and fresh herbs (mint is the classic, though I often use curly parsley or thyme). Simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the heat and puree (you can use an immersion blender if you like to keep it a bit coarse, or transfer to a blender for maximum smoothness). Stir in salt, pepper and cream/yogurt/sour cream/creme fraiche. Springtime in a bowl.

        Though, that doesn't make use of your bones at all. Sorry, I guess I just got caught on a tangent.

        1. re: chloe103

          actually your receipe seems yummy too. I've used up my bones now, so I am free to use the wonderful fresh peas that I am finding in the markets here in Rome right now ( they're so sweat I've just been eating them raw like peanuts) thanks for your input

      2. re: Will Owen

        I'll recommend you throw a bouquet garni in as well. Those particular herbs go really well in split pea soup.

        There are lots of recipes for fresh pea soup, however they are usually not flavored with ham or bones. The reason for this is that fresh peas only have to cook for about five minutes to become tender enough to eat. Therefore, adding a bone doesn't do much good, since the flavor of the bone is best extracted with a long simmer.

        If it's too hot for your split pea soup, I'd freeze your bones and use them for something else down the line.

      3. When I make split pea soup, after it is finished, I stand over the pan with a bottle of Worchestershire and a bottle of hot sauce (smoked Habenero if I have it), and dose it, taste it, repeat ...until I get the flavor I want. I always wind up using way more than you would think. Normally, I'm not big on Worchestershire, but I keep it around for this recipe and a couple of others.

        1 Reply
        1. re: danna

          Except for the salt, I try to get as much flavor into the soup at the very beginning, which is why I start by frying the seasoning vegetables and dried herbs. For some reason - maybe it's just what I'm used to - the flavor of dried thyme, oregano and/or rosemary works better in this soup for me that a fresh bouquet garni, and cooking dried herbs in oil brings out much more flavor than cooking them in water.

          Something else which I didn't mention (as we were centering this discussion around the OP's ham bones) is that I like to put in various seasoned meats as well, usually ham plus one or two kinds of sausages, say kielbasa and knockwurst, which give enough flavor to make any sauce other than some Tabasco unnecessary.

        2. Alton Brown's recipe is simple and pretty great (thanks to the curry powder, which is perfect touch...):

          1 Reply
          1. re: alias wade

            I just got finished making a huge pot of split pea soup with my left over easter ham bone. Am about to enjoy it for dinner!

            I've made this recipe several times now and think it's better than anything I've had in a restaurant. The secret ingredients are tarragon and dry sherry. I use them both liberally. Otherwise, the other ingredients are the usual....chicken broth, split peas, onion, carrots, celery, fresh parsley, leek, and diced potatoes (optional).

          2. Split pea soup made with a prosciutto bone is my favorite method. Juniper berries add a special something. Used in some of the classic recipes, and how I learned to make this soup from a CIA teacher.

            Will Owen is correct with his technique -- you actually build a soup by first sweating some onion, then adding carrot and cooking that, then the bone, split peas and chicken stock (adds more flavor than water) all at one time. I don't add a lot of other spices (bay leaf only perhaps) because I feel the flavors become muddy.

            Don't add salt until the very end and only if the soup needs it -- if added during cooking it can make the peas develop a husk instead of softening. And you're cooking with a salty meat anyway. I don't add potatoes -- too much starch.

            Cook over a low heat, and stir occasionally, as Will says, to make sure the peas don't scorch the bottom of the pan. (Best to use a heavy-bottomed pan.) Cook till -- to use Will's great word -- the peas become "mooshy." One of my favorite, most satisfying soups.

            1. Throw in some ditalini as well....the pasta is wonderful in pea soup!!