Split Pea Soup (with Ham)

Split Pea Soup

Serves 8.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from several recipes.

I have an Instant Pot Duo Plus, a multi-function electric counter-top cooker. One of its functions is a pressure cooker. I used it to make split pea soup. The process is simple and I included the optional ham. The result is a delicious soup. Although I make this in my Instant Pot, you can make this in a pot on the stove. The cooking time will be longer.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons pure olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (454g) split peas (green or yellow)
6 cups (1.4 liters) stock (vegetable/chicken)*
3 to 4 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
Freshly grated black pepper
2 to 3 ham hocks or about 4 ounces (113g) diced ham
1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 or 2 bay leaves
Salt to taste

Directions:

Heat the Instant Pot using Sauté mode and add oil. Cook vegetables 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add rinsed peas and stock. (Heating the stock before adding can reduce pressure buildup time.) Add the parsley and pepper. Stir briefly. Place the ham hocks or diced ham in the soup, pushing below the surface. Add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Attach the lid and pressure cook 10 minutes.

Allow the pot to depressurize naturally. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Transfer the ham hocks to a plate to cool.

Separate the meat from the ham hocks, discarding the fat and bones. Cube or shred the meat and add to the soup. For a vegetarian soup, forego the meat and use vegetable stock rather than chicken stock.

Optional: For a smooth soup, purée with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor. Purée before adding the ham to the soup, or purée with the ham for a completely smooth soup with a ham flavor.

Taste and season with salt.

Although the soup is ready to eat, it will taste better reheated a day or two later. The soup will thicken as it stands. If it thickens too much, a little water or broth can be added as needed.

*If the stock is concentrated and has a strong flavor, half stock and half water might make a better soup.