Classic Pea and Ham Soup

August 25, 2010


Did you know that, I detest peas? I can never eat my fried rice straight away, because I’d always spend around 5 minutes picking every single pea out of my bowl (oh how I use to dream of spoon-flicking these bad boys at unsuspecting diners). On the other hand, cook their legume brothers with pork, pulverise it into a seductively murky algae-esque soup and you’ll have me beaming and panting for more. I love how
pork makes everything magical. That’s the lesson that I learnt from a very young age.


Ok so pea soup! Homely, classic, retro and easy-peasy (heh). Traditionally this soup was made from yellow split peas to represent the infamous yellow fogs of Victorian London from which it was nicknamed after (“London Particular” – food history peeps. Exciting stuff. Google it). In any case, it appears my green peas are doing a fine job of yellowing it up themselves. The base consists of the holy sofritto of onion, carrot and celery (with added garlic), while the flavoursome stock stems from a giant ham hock. Scary looking thing, but delicious in its piggy aroma.

You could also use a gammon hock or leg ham bone if you wish but either way, make sure it’s meaty. Add peas, cook till tender then pulverise them suckers. A stick or immersion blender is the right tool for the job but obviously you can use a standard blender instead. But a word of warning – don’t fill the blender past a third or halfway with the soup because you know, liquids plus powerful blender equals explody mess. And that liquid is rather hot… so save your hands and a big clean up and stick a tea towel wadge over the top of the lid.


A final friendly tip:

if you are going to put a ham hock in your handbag, don’t forget it’s in there. Especially if you have to fish out your wallet. Once, (ok, maybe twice), a giant bugger of a hock fell out off my bag in front of worried-looking civilians. Decent thud it was too. Please don’t ask why I put ham hocks in my handbag.

Love Miss Candy xx

Pea and Ham Soup

Serves 4-6

40g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 ham hock (around 900 g each) – the more meatier, the better
2 L of cold water
500g dried split peas, green or yellow – your choice!


In a large pot or casserole pot, sauté the veges and garlic in the butter over medium heat until tender (around 10 minutes). If they are finely chopped, then it won’t take as long.

Add the ham hock, cover with the 2L of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for around 2 hours or until the meat is tender and falling away from the bone.

Remove the ham hock with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Add the dried split peas and simmer for about an hour until it’s soft and tender.

Meanwhile, when the ham hock has cooled down, get your hands in there and start separating the meat and shredding it. Discard the skin, fat and bones.

When the split peas have cooked, blend soup with tabletop or hand blender until smooth. Add the shredded ham to the soup and serve with crusty bread.

If you wish, you could just blend half or two-thirds of the soup if you’d prefer it a tad more liquidy and with chunks of peas for more texture.

Print this recipe!


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Shauna December 14, 2010 at 16:48

Ham hocks are the unsung hero of tasty food that people forget exists. Old school all the way, sustainable, inexpensive–choose British pork and keep farmers on their feet too.


forager August 27, 2010 at 02:36

So it's not the taste of peas – since you can have it in other forms.. Is it texture? And what – straight into the handbag? Does the handbag smell hammy & smoky afterwards? mmm..


Conor @ HoldtheBeef August 26, 2010 at 02:18

Aww, all we are saying is give peas a chance!

Easy peasy indeed, love a good pea and ham soup, especially if if has nice chunks of handbag meat on top :)


Rhonda August 25, 2010 at 22:49

What a magical winter warmer!


joudie's mood food August 25, 2010 at 19:50

Peas and ham…. A magical combination. I am actually going to serve this in my deli as a soup of the day for Mondays…. Gloomy mondays deserve something like this to cheer anyone up… Looks divine and i am sure the taste is just exquisite!


Anita August 25, 2010 at 12:32

I have to try and get a pea and ham soup recipe done before winter is over. I've had it on my list forever. You photos look gorgeous!


Helen l grabyourfork August 25, 2010 at 11:14

I'm not a huge fan of pea and ham soup but yours looks amazing. I kinda like the idea of carrying around a ham hock in my handbag too, you know, for emergencies… lol


mlle délicieuse August 25, 2010 at 10:26

Haha, ham hocks indecently jumping out of handbags and explody soup =) Easy-peasy!


Sarah - For the Love of Food August 25, 2010 at 09:29

I can't believe all these people who don't like sweet tender lovely peas!!! I love them and they are so versatile and easy to use – I always have a bag of frozen peas on hand!

I also love pea and ham soup and your photography, as usual, is just lovely :)


@bellyrumbles August 25, 2010 at 06:06

Yay the magical piggie. Remind me not to sit near you if you have a bowl of fried rice! Nothing beats easy peasy pea and ham soup


Gastronomy Gal August 25, 2010 at 05:49

Crazy girl! I can't even believe you hate peas! I love them- they are delicious!


Laura August 25, 2010 at 03:54

Oooh, yummy!

i happen to love peas but dont like ham, can i just have pea soup?


Phuoc'n Delicious August 25, 2010 at 03:40

HAHA I think you keep it in there so your hand bag can smell of pork for the rest of the day :D

But I'm with you, if peas are in my fried rice, I push them to the side but give me a second helping of pea and ham soup please!


OohLookBel August 25, 2010 at 03:22

Erk, I hate peas and always pick them out of fried rice, bubble and squeak, pies, etc. Pea and ham soup is the exception (plus it's a bit hard to pick them out). Your soup looks rich and smooth and delicious.


chocolatesuze August 25, 2010 at 01:32



Minh August 24, 2010 at 23:11

PEAS! I hate them too, but your soup (<3) looks awesome enough for me to try them :D


Steph August 24, 2010 at 22:06

Hahaha tis true, piggies are magical animals. You don't like peas? *sad face* I love peas! And this soup looks so lovely. I'm sick again so I could use a huge bowl of hot soup like this!


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