Pea and ham soup

Pea and ham soup

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy

Depending on the cure used for the ham, it can be very salty, so you may need to soak it for a few hours or overnight in cold water. Drain off the water before using.


Quantity Ingredient
1 ham hock, about 1.25 kg
1 onion
1 celery stick
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
6 black peppercorns
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
250g dried split peas
1.5-2 litres water
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place the ham hock in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover and bring gently to a simmer, then drain.
  2. Halve, peel and finely dice the onion. De-string and slice the celery. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and celery and cook until softened but not browned. Tie the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf in a little muslin bag.
  3. Add the ham hock, split peas and enough water to cover. Add the muslin bag, bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to a bare simmer and skim off the froth and scum. Simmer gently for 1–1½ hours, or until the split peas have softened and broken up and the ham is falling from the bone. Top up the liquid with water as necessary during cooking.
  4. Remove and discard the muslin bag. Remove the ham hock, trim away and discard any fat, then shred the ham into pieces. Set aside.
  5. Strain the cooking liquor, reserving the split peas and vegetables in the sieve, and measure out 1 litre. Tip the contents of the sieve into a food processor or blender, add the measured liquor and blitz to a purée.
  6. Return the soup to the rinsed-out pan. Adjust the seasoning. Add the ham back to the soup and warm through to serve.


  • Green pea and ham soup: For a more vibrantly coloured soup, add 50 g frozen petit pois to the soup 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time in step 3.
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