Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup 5

My Grandma used to make homemade split pea soup fairly often and my Dad was the only person in our family to ever go near it. I’m sure it was good but I was always completely turned off by the color and the name. Is anybody else with me? So we decided to step out of our comfort zone and try making our own split pea soup…and eating it.

I always want to be completely honest with our readers. And today is Halloween (Happy Halloween btw!) so now is the most appropriate time for ghoulish and gory stories, right?

Be warned.

Kara and I discussed split pea soup recipes at length and we finally decided on an Ina Garten recipe that got excellent reviews. Ina didn’t use a ham bone in her’s but our Grandma always did and so it was an essential ingredient. This presented our first dilemma. Where in the heck do you get a ham bone?! My Mom set out to find us a ham bone and was able to score us ham hocks.

Don’t even ask me what ham hocks are. I don’t know and I don’t want to know. I had read that ham hocks were good for soup so we went with it. While prepping our ingredients Kara pointed out our second dilemma. The ham hocks were hairy. 

Did you just throw up?

She boldly cut off the hair and we continued our prep. 2 ham hocks went into the soup and it began simmering away until…


Just kidding. Simmering away until…we noticed there was more hair. I.almost.died. Was our soup ruined? Is ham hock hair normal? What should we have done differently? I would love for somebody to tell us their ham hock experiences. For all I know this is a delicacy.

So long story long I did try a bite to see if it was any good. It was actually tasty and the ham hock gave it nice flavoring. But personally I couldn’t get past the hair. #minordetails My Dad and Cliff both ate it!

Moral of the story, use a ham bone. With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, ham bones should be pretty easy to come by. I have modified our recipe below to reflect this change. :)

Here's what you'll need

Here’s what you’ll need

Cook the onions and garlic until translucent. Then add the ham bone, oregano and s&p

Cook the onions and garlic until translucent. Then add the ham bone, oregano and s&p

Now in goes the veggies and chicken stock

Now in goes the veggies and chicken broth

Once the soup is done remember to remove the ham bone (or in our case..hairy ham hock)

Once the soup is done remember to remove the ham bone (or in our case..hairy ham hock)



Split Pea Soup
Serves 6
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  1. 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  2. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1/8 cup olive oil
  4. 2 springs fresh oregano, removed from stems
  5. salt and pepper, to taste
  6. 3-4 carrots, diced
  7. 3 small red potatoes, diced
  8. 1 pound dried split green peas
  9. 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (we used 6 cups chicken broth, 1 cup veggie broth & 2 cups water)
  10. 1 ham bone
  1. In a 4-quart dutch oven, heat olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic. Add the ham bone, oregano and season with a pinch of salt, and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, potatoes, split peas, and broth. Bring this to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 40 minutes.
  3. While it's cooking, you'll occasionally want to skim the foam off the top while cooking. Stir frequently to keep from burning on the bottom.
  4. After about 40-45 minutes, the peas should have softened. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Remove the ham bone and serve soup hot.
Adapted from Ina Garten
Adapted from Ina Garten
livelovepasta http://livelovepasta.com/


  1. Joanie Schwarzbeck says

    I love to use a honey baked ham bone! Now that is yummy!… if you like split pea soup… which I don’t! I think only men like that soup!!!

  2. Tammy Smith says

    Too funny! Actually when you get a hairy ham hock you can just singe off the hair over an open flame. It is normal for them to have some hair. I am a bit of a country girl being from West Virginia. We always get a ham on the bone during the holidays and save the bone and some hunks of the ham in the freezer. Mr. Smith makes some killer homemade pea soup and I always look forward to it!

  3. Leaetta Wacker says

    Frustrated cook needs true guidance on split pea soup that has been cooking for 6 hours and is still not smooth like my Mom’s was. I have looked on the net and heard various causes.. salt while cooking, hard water, old split peas, bulk split peas, and it takes as long as it takes. I remember about four months ago I cooked a batch and was just delighted and amazed that the peas broke down without waiting several lifetimes. I love split pea soup but don’t cook it often because of this problem.

    • Mell says

      After 2-3 hours of simmering (I use a crock pot), allow it to cool, then place in the fridge overnight. The next day, re-heat: the peas will be mush and the goodness leeched from the bones and skin of the ham hock will thicken up the soup to a smooth, velvety texture.

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