Split Pea Soup is hearty, comforting, and healthy. It’s made with split peas, homemade stock, ham, and vegetables. Smoked pork neck bones give this soup a special flavor that distinguishes it from any other. You can even make the bone stock ahead of time to save some time!
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This is a great soup for everyone – adults, kids, and babies! It’s a very flavorful soup with a lot of health benefits. Peas are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, Vitamin K, manganese, and they are a good sources of Omega 3 fats. They’re are great for supporting heart health, stomach health, and many other overall health benefits.
You’ll know all the wonderful benefits of this soup while your family just enjoys the taste! This soup has a very special flavor because of the smoked pork neck bones I use to make it. I’ve tried making this soup with marrow bones, chicken bones, chicken meat, or just ham, and none of those variations taste as good as smoked pork neck bones.
Making homemade ham bone stock can take up to three hours. So, take that in consideration or prepare it ahead of time. It’s very easy to make it ahead of time. Just note that homemade stock only lasts about a day or two in the refrigerator.
If you’re loving this recipe, be sure how to check out Instant Pot Split Pea Soup!
Smoked Pork Neck Bones – For this soup, you will need about 1 lb of smoked pork neck bones. If smoked pork neck bones are not available, the best substitute would be ham bones with some meat still on bone that you can later add to the soup.
Onion – I like using yellow onions in split pea soup because they have a natural subtle sweetness, white onions or Vidalia will also work well.
Dried Split Peas – You can use either green or yellow split peas. The only difference is the color, they taste the exact same.
Garlic – Smash your fresh garlic cloves before mincing to release the most flavor.
Seasonings – Salt, pepper, parsley and bay leaves give this soup the very best flavor. I recommend letting the soup come together before doing a taste test to decide if you want any other seasonings in the mix.
See recipe card for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make Split Pea Soup
Slow cook it. Fill a large soup pot with 8-10 cups of water. Add smoked pork neck bones to the pot and the bay leaves (1). Set heat to medium-high and bring it to boil. Once water starts to boil, reduce heat to low and let it cook, partially covered, for 2.5 to 3 hours.
Pick the meat and save the stock. When the stock is ready, take out the bones and strain the stock. Let the stock cool and either use it in soup, refrigerate in an air-tight container, or freeze for later. Take the meat off the bone and make sure there are no little bones left anywhere in meat (2). Save meat for the soup and discard the bones.
PRO TIP: I always add 10 rather than 8 cups of water because it’s better to end up with extra stock than not enough.
Prep the peas. Start by rinsing dried peas and set aside (3).
Sauté the veggies. Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add a little oil for cooking the veggies. Add diced onion and carrots to the pot and cook for a few minutes (4). Press garlic and and it to the pot. Sauté until fragrant.
Add peas and pork. Add split peas and meat taken off the bones (5). Stir and let it sauté for a couple more minutes.
Add the stock. Pour in about 6 cups of prepared stock (6) but reserve the rest in case you need to make the soup thinner.
Season it. Add spices and salt to taste. Mix well, and lower the temperature to medium-low. Cover but leave a crack for steam to escape. (7)
Cook the soup. Cook for about an hour, until the peas are completely cooked and soft. Make sure to stir occasionally. Add more stock if thinner soup is desired. (8)
PRO TIP: Remember that smoked pork neck bones are already salty so taste to see how much salt you need to add.
In my personal experience, soaking the peas has not sped up the cooking time by much. Split peas are so small already, they cook pretty fast. The difference is minimal, so if you forget or don’t have the time, you can simply add them to the soup without soaking. If you do wish to soak them, just a couple of hours is more than enough.
Yes, it’s always best to rinse the dried peas and beans under cold running water before cooking. This washes away any field dirt and dust.
Usually the titles “split pea soup” and “pea soup” are used to describe the same thing. They often refer to a thick and hearty soup made with dried peas.
However, the difference can sometimes be in the type of peas used. Split pea soup is usually made with dried split peas, while green pea soup features frozen or fresh green peas. The flavor and texture are very different. Split pea soup has a thicker and heartier consistency compared to green pea soup.
Don’t throw away any leftover smoked ham bone stock! Transfer it into a mason jar store it in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Or, transfer it into a freezer zip-top bag, get all the air out, and freeze.
You can use leftover stock to thin out the pea soup if it got too thick.
Use the ham stock to make sausage gravy for biscuits and gravy! (So good!)
If you have enough, you can also use it to make pan gravy.
Or, use it in many other sauces to go with pork dinners.
How to Freeze Split Pea Soup
Just like with stock and any other soup, it’s important to cool cooked soup quickly before freezing. Place the pot with soup into a larger container filled with ice and let it cool, stirring occasionally.
Once soup is cooled to room temperature, portion it into freezer zip-lock bags. Get the air out and seal. Label and date each bag and lay them flat on a cutting board. Place it in the freezer.
Defrost soup overnight in the refrigerator.
PRO TIP: It’s easier to freeze soup in freezer bags. When frozen flat, it can be stacked easily, which saves a lot of room.
How to Freeze Stock
After stock is cooked, it’s best to get it cooled as quickly as possible. Place the pot with stock into a larger container filled with ice and let it cool, stirring occasionally.
If you are planning on using the whole batch of stock at the same time, you can freeze it in one freezer-friendly container or zip-lock freezer bag. Stock can also be portioned into several zip-lock bags, and frozen in portions.
Make sure to label and date the freezer bag and get the air out. Seal and place in the freezer.
For more freezing tips, check out my post on freezing foods.
More Comforting Soup Recipes
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Split Pea Soup Recipe
- 1 lb smoked pork neck bones
- 8-10 cups water
- 1 dry bay leaf
Split Pea Soup:
- 1 lb bag of dry split peas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 medium carrots
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp dry parsley
- black pepper
- Fill a large soup pot with 8-10 cups of water. I always add 10 rather than 8 cups because it’s better to end up with extra stock than not enough.
- Add smoked pork neck bones to the pot and 1 bay leaf. Set heat to medium-high and bring it to boil. Once water starts to boil, reduce heat to low and let it cook, partially covered, for 2.5 to 3 hours.
- When stock is ready, take out the bones out, and strain the stock. (Use it in soup, refrigerate in an air-tight container, or freeze.)
Split Pea Soup:
- Take meat off the bone, make sure there is no little bones left anywhere in meat. Save meat for the soup and discard the bones.
- Rinse dried peas and set aside.
- Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add a little oil for cooking the veggies.
- Add diced onion and carrots to the pot and saute for a few minutes.
- Press garlic and and it to the pot. Saute until fragrant.
- Add split peas and meat taken off the bones. Stir and let it saute for a couple more minutes.
- Pour in about 6 cups of prepared stock but reserve the rest in case you need to make the soup thinner.
- Add spices and salt to taste. Remember that smoked pork neck bones are already salty so taste to see how much salt you need to add. Mix well, and lower the temperature to medium-low. Cover but leave a crack for steam to escape.
- Cook for about an hour, until the peas are completely cooked and soft. Make sure to stir occasionally. Add more stock if thinner soup is desired.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles in October 2010.