2 to 3medium carrots, diced (about 2 heaping cups)
2stalkscelery, diced(about 1 cup)
½teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2cupsdried split peas, sorted and rinsed(16 oz. bag)
1tablespoonfresh thyme, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dry thyme
8ouncesdiced ham, and/or ham bone(see note)
3tablespoonschopped fresh parsley
In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.
Add rinsed peas, water, bay leaf, and thyme. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered for 50 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peas and vegetables are soft.
Add ham and parsley, stir to combine, heat until warmed through. Remove bay leaf prior to serving. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.
Go ahead and use those stalks of celery in the middle of the bunch, and include the leaves. They’ll add extra flavor.
If using a ham bone, add that when you add the peas and water, so it can simmer. It will add really great ham flavor. Remove it before serving. However, if you’re using ham cubes or leftover ham, wait until the end to add it. It becomes tough and flavorless if you simmer it with the soup the whole time.
Not a meat eater? This soup is perfect for vegetarians or vegans. Just leave the ham out and replace the water with a good quality vegetable broth. To enhance the flavor, add 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced, and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika.