Split Pea Soup with Red Wine and Ham

Winter is a quiet season for a Colorado Locavore.  Unless one has resources who greenhouse grow (fortunately I know some farmers who do) our task is to live from our stores from the fall.  This generally means a lot of root vegetables, winter squash, apples, pears (though those pears stored are probably about out now) and dried (or canned) goods.
I’ll out myself here; I am a soup-a-holic.  As soon as the first chill of fall arrives my Dutch ovens and crock pot are on the ready.  I would eat soup every meal of the day if left to my own devices.  Bean soups are definitely my favorite, providing a non-meat source of protein that is filling, warming and delicious. I generally prepare mine with dried beans, always having an abundance from local sources on hand.
After enjoying a beautiful local ham for Christmas the day arrived when we could eat no more.  The dinners, sandwiches, omelets had run their course and we needed to finish it off in a dish fit for the deliciousness it delivered.  Some beautiful soup seemed in order, this version with the traditional flavors and seasonings punched up a bit.  Kind of like ‘Big Girl Split Pea soup’.  It is full of great texture between the split peas, potato and ham and it’s great to freeze as well!
This recipe could not be easier to prepare.  I use a food processor or chopper to chop all the vegetables.  It can be made in a crock pot or on the stove.  I’ve included directions for each method.
Serves:  12
Adapted from:  Cooking with the Seasons (Lesa Heebner)
·         2 cups dried green split peas, rinsed
·         4 cups water
·         4 cups low sodium chicken broth
·         1 strip kombu seaweed*
·         3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
·         3 large carrots, finely chopped
·         3 stalks celery, finely chopped
·         1 ½ tablespoons celery leaf (fresh), diced
·         3 medium-large red new potatoes, peeled and cubed (1/2” cubes)
·         1 bay leaf
·         1 large red onion, finely chopped
·         1 ham bone
·         ¼ cup dry red wine
·         ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
·         ¼ teaspoon dried basil
·         ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
·         ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
·         ¼ teaspoon dried sage
·         1 cup ham, cubed (1/2” cubes)
·         Salt and pepper to taste
*kombu seaweed added to bean dishes help address the after affect of the beans.  Does not affect taste and is removed before serving.
1.  In a soup pot or dutch oven, combine the split peas, water, chicken stock, kombu seaweed, garlic, carrots, celery, celery leaf, potato, bay leaf, onion, ham bone and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmering, cover and cook until split peas are completely soft and become mushy (approximately 60-90 minutes)
2.  Add wine, dried herbs and ham.  Allow to simmer 30 additional minutes.  Remove kombu seaweed and ham bone.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Crock Pot Method:
Follow instructions above substituting a crock pot, adding all ingredients in Step 1 to the crock pot set for 6 hours.  When 6 hours is complete add ingredients in Step 2 and allow to simmer 30 additional minutes for flavors to fully develop.


  1. says

    I really love split pea soup, although being vegetarian I know miss out on some of the flavors from the ham. Still…I love the array of spices in your soup and would like to try is sans ham.

  2. says

    Of all the things I've cooked (or attempted to cook) in my day, I've never ever made split pea soup. I think you've just inspired me, this looks wonderful. And, I'll admit it: I'm also a soup-a-holic. Especially this time of year!

  3. says

    This looks sooo fantastic. We've had some days in the single digits here in Boston lately, this lovely soup would be very welcome!

  4. says

    Mother Rimmy: I completely agree and always forget how much I love this soup until I make it again.

    Karen (Backroads): I'm so glad you did too! The wine is such a simple addition but it really does change the flavor profile to be more sophisticated I think.

    Kirsten: Bravo to you! Maybe when you are done with your regimen you can try it.

    Kiri: Funny how strong childhood food memories are, isn't it? I hope you'll try making it with the wine and let me know what you think!

    Connie: You are so welcome! Sounds like it's time for you to solidify a childhood food memory for a little someone in your household and give this recipe a try!

    Maggie: I'd just omit the ham aspect and give this a whirl. The original recipe of inspiration was vegetarian. I think you won't miss the ham with the seasonings as they are!

    Rosemarried: Never?! Split Pea soup needs to make your culinary bucket list. Once you've made it I feel sure it will become a cold weather staple.

    Lea Ann: I'm so glad I'm not alone!

    Epicurean Mom: I hope you will try it and 'report back'!

    Dara: Yikes (on the temps). This soup would definitely we welcome in your region. When I made it we too were suffering frigid temps and howling wind. It was perfect.

    EA: I hope you will! I think you'll be happy you did.

    Elliotseats: Oh good; another one. So glad we can ban together. I hope you will try it (and love it)!

  5. Anonymous says

    Made this vegetarian with a few dashes of liquid smoke to stand in for the ham and it came out great – Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *