Hearty Ham and Split Pea Soup with Potatoes

Published March 1, 1999.

Why this recipe works:

After much testing we discovered that ham was indeed necessary for the best split pea soup recipe; broths made without ham tasted weak and those made with ham substitutions tasted processed. A ham bone was key to flavorful broth, and the tender pieces of ham that fell away from the bone during… read more

After much testing we discovered that ham was indeed necessary for the best split pea soup recipe; broths made without ham tasted weak and those made with ham substitutions tasted processed. A ham bone was key to flavorful broth, and the tender pieces of ham that fell away from the bone during cooking were essential to the soup. But you don't have to buy a huge half ham for our split pea soup recipe; we found that a small, inexpensive picnic ham worked just fine. As for the vegetables, we found that while there's no need to soak the peas, but the other, fresh vegetables benefit from a deep caramelization on the stovetop.

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Serves 6

Use a small 2 1/2-pound smoked picnic portion ham if you can find one. Otherwise, buy a half-picnic ham and remove some meat, which you can save for use in sandwiches, salads, or omelets (see illustrations below). If you like caraway, see related recipe. The finished soup will continue to thicken as it stands but can be thinned with some water when reheated. To cut 45 minutes off the cooking time of the soup, simmer the ham 1 1/2 hours, then add the split peas to the pot. When the ham is tender, after about 45 minutes more of simmering, remove it and shred.

Ingredients

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