split pea soup – searching for my grandmother’s recipe

by Michelle

pea soup / bitebymichelle.com

Split Pea Soup was a staple in my grandmother Ekstrom’s house. Of course it was. She learned to cook nutritious family meals with pennies. Buying a ham was an extravagance and yet the conversation during her ham dinners wasn’t about how delicious the ham was but rather how excited everyone was for the soup to come. Pea Soup made from dried yellow split peas and the broth off of a ham bone is peasant food at it’s finest!

My mom insists that she’s never tasted split pea soup anywhere as good as Nanny’s.

The reason Mom knows this is she orders it, whenever she sees it on a menu hoping to taste my grandmother’s soup again. Like most of my grandmother’s recipes, she cooked by site and taste. A little of this, a dash of that. I wish we’d had the foresight to ask her to write out all of our family’s favourites. Sadly, we didn’t.

The magic she created in the kitchen will stay forever locked in our memories.

The best I can do is continue to search and experiment, until I find that beloved flavour and aroma. I’ve got a good sense of smell so, I let that guide me while I’m trying to re-create her soup. With my nose and a bunch of recipes from out dated Maritime cook books I’ve come up with a close version of Nanny’s split pea soup. I dare say, “it’s pretty darn good!”

pea soup / bitebymichelle.com

Split Pea Soup
Serves 8

1 lb dried yellow split peas
10 cups water
1 ham bone
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 onion, peeled and diced
1 shallot, peeled and diced
1 leek, cleaned and diced
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon dried summer savoury
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

pea soup / bitebymichelle.com


  • Rinse the peas in a sieve under cold running water and allow to drain
  • Place the water and ham bone in a large stock pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring back to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for three hours, stirring often.
  • When peas are soft and soup is thick around three hours, remove the ham bone and chop up any meat.
  • Return the meat to the soup and serve.

THE LOVE: There’s no way that Nanny used shallots and leek in her soup but I love how the combination works with the ham. Also, I find the ham bone gives the soup enough salt but, by all means, I would encourage you to taste your own soup and decide. Everyone’s salt metre is different!

pea soup / bitebymichelle.com

one year ago: sausage lasagna

two years ago: banana chocolate chunk muffins

three years ago: roast game hen with leek, sage and prosciutto bread stuffing

pea soup / bitebymichelle.com

Thanks for reading.