In her book from the television series, The Free Range Cook, Celebrity television chef Annabel Langbein shares her favorite winter soup recipes. With only two main ingredients, this split pea and ham soup can be quickly thrown into a crockpot for a family-friendly dinner that’s sure to please. Toast cubes of French bread to make the crostini, and serve with grilled cheese sandwiches for a bigger meal. Finish with our favorite recipe for key lime pie for dessert.From Annabel: I love the miraculous simplicity of this soup, which takes only two main ingredients. The peas break down in the last stage of cooking – suddenly the soup goes thick as they collapse and release all their starch. Make a double batch and freeze some.
Prep time 5 mins
Cook time 2 hours 40 mins
Serves 8 as a main
- 1 large smoked ham or bacon hock
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups dried split green peas, rinsed and checked for stones
- salt and ground black pepper
To serve (optional)
crostini or croutons
Place ham or bacon hock in a large pot with bay leaves and 14 cups (3½ quarts) water. Bring to the boil, skimming off and discarding any scum that rises to the surface. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
While the meat cooks, place the split peas in a separate pot, cover with 6 cups water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the water has almost evaporated (about 40-45 minutes).
Lift ham or bacon hock out of cooking liquid, discard the skin, fat and bones and finely dice the meat. Return meat to the pot containing the cooking liquid and add the partly cooked peas, salt and pepper. Simmer gently until peas are fully broken down (about another 40 minutes).
Adjust seasonings to taste and serve with crostini or croutons, if desired. Rib-Sticking Split Pea and Ham Soup will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or can be frozen.
Recipes are excerpts with permission from Annabel Langbein, The Free Range Cook: Simple Pleasures, screening now on PBS. The accompanying book, containing all the recipes from the series, is available on Amazon.com.
Find 5 chef tips for cooking better soup recipes here.