Perfect Pea Soup

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On days like today, when the wind chill is in the negatives, there’s not much better than a hot bowl of soup to warm you up. Pea Soup to be exact. So random – I know. But it is delicious! My dad has been making this for as long as I can remember. But obviously I did not eat this as a child! It’s green and mushy; was. not. happening. I will admit that it smelled amazing though!

Eventually I grew up and decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did. Pea soup is rich, velvety, and thick with the perfect amount of savory ham flavor.

Part of the reason my family loves pea soup so much is because its kind of hard to come by. You see, a ham bone is needed to make pea soup. And I don’t know about your family, but my mom wasn’t trying to cook a ham every week! So when ham was on the menu, usually for a holiday or family gathering, I knew pea soup was around the corner!

Lucky for me, my future in-laws had the family over for dinner a few weekends back and they cooked a ham! I was a little pushy about getting the bone (sorry, not sorry) but I promised to share the pea soup!

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 16oz bag green split peas
1 ham bone
1 small onion, diced
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 bay leaves
3 quarts of water

(You may notice in the pictures that I doubled my ingredients because I had a particularly large ham bone with a lot of meat still on it; feel free to do the same.)

Pour the peas into a colander and sift through them to make sure there aren’t any rocks in the bag. I literally only saw this happen to my dad once, but I would actually be mortified if one of my loved ones bit into a rock while eating my soup. Therefore, I sift.

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Now to dicing the onion. I do believe this is the best way to dice an onion. Cut off the top of the onion (not the root side).

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Place the onion cut side down on the cutting board and cut the onion in half through the roots.

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Peel off the outer layer of the onion.

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Lay the onion flat on the cutting board and slice vertically from root to end across the onion. Be sure not to completely cut through the onion by the root because then it will no longer be connected at the root. Slice about 1/4 inch wide slices or to your liking.

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Now slice 2 to 3 horizontal slices in the opposite direction on the onion. Be careful here. It is crucial to do this with a sharp knife. Honestly its straight up dangerous with a dull knife.

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Now slice down vertically from cut end to root end and you will have a perfect dice!

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Moving on from the onion…

Add all of the ingredients to a large pot and stir. You will notice my pot is to the brim because I doubled up. Turn the heat on high, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Be sure to stir often being mindful of really scraping up the bottom of the pot, the peas sink to the bottom and could burn.

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Once the soup is fully boiling, uncover the pot, and reduce the heat so that the soup is now simmering. Simmer the soup for an hour and a half, again, stirring/scraping often.

The soup when it is at full boil.
The soup when it is at full boil.
The soup with the heat lowered so it is at a simmer.
The soup with the heat lowered so it is at a simmer.

After an hour and a half carefully remove the ham bone from the pot and place on a plate. Remove as much meat as possible from the bone and return the meat to the pot. We are done with the bone.

After an hour and a half on simmer.
After an hour and a half on simmer.

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Now our goal is to really thicken the soup. Leave the soup uncovered and continue to simmer and stir/scrape the soup for another 2 to 2.5 hours.  I simmered mine for 2 hours and 20 minutes becuase I like mine pretty thick, and that’s how my Dad has always made it.  Yeah sorry, never said this was quick, just delicious!

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Your soup is now ready!  I love mine with a big plop of sour cream (gives the soup the perfect bit of acidity it needs) and home-made croutons.  This soup also freezes really well and can be made using different variations. You could make my recipe and completely leave out the bone, I’ve also seen recipes that use a ham steak, and another one of my Dad’s favorites, ham hocks. No matter the recipe you choose I do hope you give it a try! Enjoy!

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Printable recipe
Perfect Pea Soup

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