I love Split Pea Soup with Country Ham – it has such a rich, deep, smoky flavor!

Following the tradition established by my mom many years ago, every December I order up a country ham from Kentucky to serve over the holidays. One January, I decided to make a batch of Split Pea Soup with the bone and some of the leftovers. It was delicious! The ham added depth and smokiness to the flavor.

I’m a bit partial to creamy soups, and what I like about Split Pea Soup is that the peas break down in the cooking process, resulting in a creamy consistency that still has some texture, since it isn’t puréed in a blender. Make sure your dried split peas are fresh; if they are stale/old, they won’t break down in the cooking process, no matter how long you cook them. Also, some people believe it’s not necessary to soak the peas. I think the consistency comes out with a perfect balance of creamy and chunky if you DO soak them overnight.

A warning: country ham tastes saltier than regular ham, and if you’re not accustomed to its flavor you might want to skip cooking the soup with the ham bone. I would still recommend stirring in the chopped ham at the end. You can also use other, less salty types of ham if you prefer.

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Ceramic tureen filled with Split Pea Soup with Country Ham

Split Pea Soup with Country Ham

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This Split Pea Soup has a deep, rich, smoky flavor – due primarily to the addition of Country Ham. The peas break down in the cooking process, resulting in the perfect balance of creamy and chunky consistency!

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 2 cups dried split peas, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped leeks
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 to 3 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 country ham bone
  • 1 cup chopped cooked country ham


  1. Place the peas in a medium mixing bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, leeks and celery and sauté until soft and just beginning to brown, around 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add 2 quarts of the chicken broth and the ham bone; bring to a boil, partially cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the peas, uncover and continue cooking at a low simmer for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the peas are tender. (The longer you cook it, the creamier the consistency of the soup.)
  5. Remove the ham bone and stir in the chopped country ham. Thin with additional chicken broth as needed. Serve hot.


I think this soup tastes best if you stir in the ham and then let it set for a bit off the heat – at least 30 minutes, or even overnight in the refrigerator. It thickens as it sits so you will want to thin it with more broth.

Gluten free: use gluten-free chicken broth.

  • Author: (From “Fresh Tastes” by Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Category: Soup, main dish
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Southern

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Ceramic tureen filled with Split Pea Soup with Country Ham

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.

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