Close up of spoon scooping up Pea and Ham Soup
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5 from 17 votes

Pea and Ham Soup (slow cooker or stove)

Recipe video above. This is a fabulous "throw it all in the slow cooker" soup. There's no need to cook the onion separately - it "sautés" itself in the fat from the ham that rises to the surface. Thick, hearty soup broth infused with incredible flavour from the ham! Use leftover ham bone, or purchase a ham hock.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 hrs
Course: Mains, Soup
Cuisine: Western
Keyword: ham bone recipe, ham hock, Pea and ham soup, slow cooker soup, split pea soup
Servings: 6 - 8
Calories: 509kcal
Author: Nagi

Ingredients

  • 500g / 1lb dried split peas (Note 1)
  • 1.2-1.5kg / 2.4-5lb ham hock (aka ham bone), bacon hock or MEATY leftover ham bone (Note 2)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (start with less, adjust later)
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 bay leaves , dried or fresh
  • 1 onion , finely chopped
  • 1 carrot , peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks , finely chopped
  • 8 cups (2 litres/qts) water

Garnishes / serving:

  • Parsley , finely chopped
  • Crusty bread for dunking!

Instructions

  • Place peas in slow cooker, push ham in. Scatter all ingredients around the ham bone, then pour over water.
  • Slow cook 8 to 10 hours on LOW or 6 hours on HIGH. (Or 2.5 hours on low on stove, 1 h - 1 hr 20 min pressure cooker/Instant Pot on HIGH)
  • Remove ham bone, shred ham meat. Discard bone and fatty skin.
  • Remove bay leaves. Use a stick blender to blitz 2 or 3 times - thickens soup but doesn't make it completely smooth (my preference, you can blend completely if you want).
  • Return ham into slow cooker, stir. Taste and add more salt if needed (soup gets lots of salt from ham).
  • Serve garnished with parsley. Serve with crusty bread for dunking - make a quick Irish Soda Bread, Garlic Bread or upgrade to Cheesy Garlic Bread!

Notes

1. Split peas are dried peas which split in half during drying process. Smaller size means no soaking required. Doesn't taste like peas! It's quite a neutral flavour, a bit earthy, very much dominated by the savoury flavour imparted by the ham. 
Sold in packets should be clean ie picked through, and are fine to use without rinsing. But if I bought them at the markets out of sacks, then I would rinse.
2. Ham bone - bacon and ham hocks can be purchased, over some deli counters or vac packed. They are great because they're intended for this purpose so they're super meaty and full of smokey flavour.
If using LEFTOVER HAM BONE then make sure there's a decent amount of ham on it still because that's key to the flavour in this soup.
If you can't find a hock at least 1kg/2lb OR if you leftover ham bone is really naked, then buy a chunk of ham, chop it into ~5cm/2" pieces and throw that in with the bone (to impart flavour into soup and for shredding later).
If your soup is lacking in flavour due to the small size of your ham bone and you don't have extra ham, add in a sprinkle of chicken stock powder (chicken bouillon) to give it a flavour boost (I do this when I open a ham bone given to me by friends only find it's completely naked and devoid of meat!!).
3. Storage - freezes 100% perfectly! I would freeze for 3 months to err on the side of caution, but I'm sure even longer is fine. Fridge for 4 to 5 days.
4. Nutrition per serving. This is for a hearty sized bowl that will keep you full!

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 509kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 296mg | Potassium: 1114mg | Fiber: 22g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1823IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 5mg