If you’re looking for an easy split pea soup recipe, you’ve found it. All you have to do is chop an onion, a shallot and a little garlic. The result? Silky smooth, delicious split pea soup.
This easy split pea soup recipe is: Gluten Free and delicious.
A perfectly easy split pea soup recipe with smoked ham!
Growing up, I was never a fan of split pea soup. I mean, what kid really loves split pea soup? Tell you what, if I had this recipe growing up my story might have been different. There’s a really nice harmony created between the smooth texture of the peas and the smoky ham shanks. The depth is added into the soup with onions, shallots and garlic… with a little bit of bacon love too. The good news is that both my kids love this soup. Makes me happy.
Ham Shanks vs. Ham Hocks
Okay. This is a confusing topic, but an important one. The ham shank is a cut from the front leg… but it is also called a hock. This shank / hock is really meaty and doesn’t require the long cook time to make it palatable like the “other” ham hock. So the other ham hock comes from the back leg, right above the foot. This gnarled bit has a lot of connective tissue, bone and not much meat. I’ve used the rear ham hocks and it never yields the amount of meat that I am looking for.
If you’re not sure which one you have at the grocery store, be sure to ask the butcher. Shanks are a bit harder to find, but worth the look. Here in Cleveland they have them at the West Side Market or at Miles Market.
Preparing the Split Peas
I’ve never been a fan of rinsing split peas, but I think that a good shake in a colander or sieve is necessary before cooking. I like using the colander simply because the holes are larger and it allows anything that isn’t supposed to be in there to fall through. Sometimes there is some grit in with dried beans. A quick swish around a colander lets all the bits drop through.
QUICK COOKING TIP: I heat the stock and the ham shanks together while I’m cooking the onions. It gives the shanks a bit more time to soften up and adds more flavor to the recipe. Just toss the shanks into the pot with the stock, crank the heat to high and let it boil away while you’re cooking the onions.
Ok. Let’s get into this easy split pea soup recipe.
Easy Split Pea Soup
- 8 Cups Beef Stock 2 quarts
- 2 Smoked Ham Shanks approx. 1lb each
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- 2 Slices Smoked Bacon
- 2 Cups Chopped Onion Spanish
- 4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Shallot
- 2 TBSP Water
- 1 TBSP Minced Garlic
- 1 LB Dried Split Peas
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1/2 TSP Balsamic Vinegar
- Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper
- Add the beef stock and ham shanks to a large pot over high heat.
- In a heavy bottom saute pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add in the bacon. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the pan when crisp and set aside.
- Add the chopped onion and thyme to the pan where you just removed the bacon. Add a pinch of salt and stir. The water released from the onion while it cooks will allow you to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. After 4-5 minutes, add in the shallots and water. Stir. When the water has been absorbed, add in the garlic. Cook for 2 more minutes, remove the thyme stems and add to the pot with the stock and ham.
- Dice the bacon and add to the pot. Add in the split peas and bay leaf to the stock. Stir and bring to a boil. When it has boiled, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1.5 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
- When the peas are softened completely, remove the ham shanks and bay leaf from the pot. Using two forks, shred the meat from the shanks. Discard any connective tissue or stuff you don't want to eat. Reserve about a tablespoon of the shredded meat per serving. Add the remaining ham back into the pot.
- Using an immersion blender (or blend in batches) blend until smooth. Add in salt, pepper and the balsamic vinegar. Stir, taste, adjust your seasonings. Stir again and taste again. This soup needs a good amount of salt, but add carefully.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and the reserved shredded ham on top. Enjoy hot!
Final thoughts on the easy split pea soup recipe:
Once upon a time I would have eaten this soup with a piece of toasted baguette and some salted butter. It’s so good. If you’re still eating gluten, give it a try. Today I enjoyed this soup with the memory of my missing baguette. It’s not very often that I miss bread, but this is one of those soups that goes well with bread.
I love adding sour cream to pureed soups. It is really delicious on the Roasted Vegetable Soup. If you have crème fraîche all the better. Around our house, we eat enough Southwestern style food that we have sour cream on hand most of the time.
Hopefully you give this easy split pea soup a try. Let me know how it turns out!