Canadian Split Pea and Ham Soup, nothing says Canadian better than a bowl of this hearty, flavorful, full of wonderful texture Winter soup!
Song of the day: "Into the Mystic: by Colin James.
Canadian Split Pea and Ham Soup. I love a good hearty soup. Likewise, this soup offers chunks of ham which play with beautiful yellow split peas, nice soft potatoes in a base of rich vegetable stock and the never let you down mirepoix. Absolutely heartwarming and delicious!
Canadian cuisine, I am often asked what that means. I find it hard to answer sometimes because Canada is so full of diverse culture and a plethora of wonderful seasonal ingredients that it would be hard to narrow it down.
However, there is a dish that always comes to mind when I think of Canada, Canadian Split Pea and Ham Soup.
Oddly enough as a kid, I fell in love with this soup. I know, split pea soup full of vegetables and that deep pea flavor and a kid. Yes, I was a strange little boy.
Why as a kid did I like split pea soup?
Well, firstly I loved the starchiness of the soup. That thick broth that held all the flavors in.
Secondly, that bit of smokiness in the backdrop from the cured ham.
Lastly, I loved the texture and flavor of the split peas.
Imagination is a wonderful thing
This is kind of funny, I would often wonder how many people they had splitting the peas. I had quite the imagination as a child and would think there was this factory where many people worked.
In hand this laxer-like tool and a huge magnifying glass in place, they worked precisely cutting the peas in half. I don't think that is how it's done, but let's find out how it is really done.
The answer to how peas are split
Well, it seems that the peas are dried and the outer skin is removed. Naturally, the inner pea has a split. This is then either manually or mechanically manipulated to separate, hence the name "split pea".
I wasn't that far off in my imagination, eh?!
Time to cook and build the flavors
I have to say I varied the original recipe a bit. You know me, always playing with my food. I guess childlike nature resounds deeply inside of me, lol.
Here's our ingredient list:
- Maple ham
- Yellow split peas
- Onions, carrots, and celery
- various spices and herbs
Simplicity is the essence of life
I know my recipes are quite elaborate most of the time, but this one is really easy, I promise!
The beginning is so simple: chopping all those vegetables. Yes, they have to be washed first. I can hear my mom now. "Did you wash your hands? Are those vegetables washed?!"
The prep is done then the next phase is the cooking. In goes oil into a large cast pot. However, you can use any soup pot you have. Throw in the carrots, onions, and celery.
This is the base of any good soup, I let it simmer nice and slow. Want to extract all those flavors in a loving way!
Did you know
Did you know that cast pots, woks, or any of the heavy-bottomed pots have flavor? Yes over hundreds of use the flavor of food seeps into the metal making it seasoned. I had a wok that was around 30 years old, unfortunately, it fell apart and I had to start another one.
So the mirepoix has softened and smells heavenly. In goes the rest of the veggies. Potatoes, leeks, rutabaga, and finally the ham chunks. Oh, I almost forgot. The ham is already cooked. This ham I bought at the grocery store and it was maple roasted. I thought can't put any more Canadian in this soup than maple!
Time to toss the split peas in. I love this part. Those little golden morsels getting all coated with the flavor boosters of this soup.
There is nothing more loving and comforting than smelling the aroma of a good soup simmering in the kitchen.
Memories, just like the ones I used to know...
I think we can all relate that food has a way to bring back special memories for all of us. When I think of this soup, my heart swells and I feel this warmth caress my whole being. My parents were good soup makers, and Sunday mornings our house was filled with that food love. In Italian, we called soup "brodo".
The final touches
The last thing to do is to pour the vegetable broth in. I always think of this step as the deal closer, because I think of all those flavors getting trapped by the broth. Imagine that dance as the pot simmers that wonderful Canadian creation in a most loving and gentle way. Can't wait to get my spoon into this soup!
It's Time for a Taste!
The aroma of this soup is wonderful. I smell the bay leaf, and that soup base, however that little hint of maple from the ham is coming through.
Moreover, this soup is all about texture. Firstly the peas nice and al dente. Secondly the potatoes soft, buttery, and so comforting. Lastly, those wonderful tender chunks of ham. This makes this Canadian Split Pea and Ham Soup a hearty meal in one bowl!
I love how all the flavors play so well together.
The Dance of Flavor
The sweetness of the ham goes so well with the earthiness of the split pea. Likewise, that rich substantial broth holds everything in balance. However, the sweet maple, really adds a beautiful dimension with the slight smoke of the ham and the savory nature of this soup. I have to say the onion and leek are like butter, as a result, yum!
Above all else, I want to take that piece of rustic bread and dip it into that rich broth, because nothing like sinking my teeth into that tasty bread all soaked with incredible flavor!
Next time I am asked what dish says Canadian to you, I can honestly say a good bowl of this Canadian Split Pea and Ham Soup! This will definitely warm you on a great white north winter day! Give yourself a little of that much-needed lovin'!
- 3 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 8 small carrots cleaned and diced
- 3 celery stalks washed and diced
- 4 small walla onions cleaned and chopped fine
- 1 leek washed and chopped fine
- 1 small rutabaga peeled and diced
- 1 large potato peeled and diced
- 2 cups yellow split peas
- 1 ½ cups diced roasted maple ham
- 4 ½ cups vegetable stock
- fine sea salt to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Pinch of paprika
- ½ tsp crushed dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Pinch of red chili flakes
- 2 small bay leaves
- Fresh chopped parsley
- In a large soup crock pot drizzle in olive oil and toss in garlic. carrots, celery, onion, and leeks.
- Let saute' till the mix softens a bit and onions become translucent, about 10-15 minutes stirring continuously.
- Add in rutabaga and potato and stir well, blending ingredients evenly. Saute for another 2 minutes.
- Toss in split peas and ham.
- Sprinkle in paprika, bay leaves, chili flakes, thyme and rosemary. Stir, coating everything well with the olive oil, spices, and herbs.
- Pour in vegetable broth, stir and cover. Let simmer on very low heat for about 40 minutes, or until peas are al dente and potatoes are fork tender.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
- Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
- Ready to serve.
- Make sure to stir the soup frequently because the potato and peas will want to go to the bottom of the pan and could burn.
- You could use a smoked ham instead of the maple ham consequently giving you a smokier seasoned soup.
- Green split peas would also work well in this soup.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Soups
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Canadian
Keywords: yellow split peas, Canadian cuisine, onions, celery, carrots, leeks, potatoes, rutabaga, soup, maple ham, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, vegetable broth,
When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.