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Split Pea And Lentil Soup With Ham Recipes! Best Winter Soups!

Updated on December 13, 2010

Traditional Favorites For Many Years!

With cold winter nights come the craving for comfort foods. Split pea soup and lentil soup are traditional favorites. Add a little bit of chopped ham and both soups will easily satisy your cravings. The following two recipes are very inexpensive and worth the few hours that you have to supervise the soup pot. Try the recipes below. Each makes it hard to choose your favorite, so if you are anything like I am, you will end up trying them both. I have made split pea soup for many years. Because I did not make lentil soup for my kids when they were little, they won't even try it now that they are grown, but I love it and the recipe is so good! I do bring it to potlucks and have been told by people who say they hate lentil soup that they love this one!

Split Pea Soup Recipe Makes Enough For Two Meals!

If your family likes split pea soup, they will like this recipe. The recipe makes alot, so I divide the finished product in half and freeze one of the containers. Great on a cold night or rainy day! Serve it with some warm crusty bread for dipping! Some kids won't try split pea soup because it is traditionally green and kids have a law against eating pretty much anything that is green! But they don't yet have a law against eating yellow foods. Corn is yellow, yellow cake with chocolate frosting is half yellow, and yellow split peas, well, they are yellow, too! The yellow split peas are a little milder in flavor, probably more kid friendly. I don't generally believe in lying to kids, but when they make laws that I disagree with, then I believe it is justified. Tell them it is corn, if you have to. They will never know until it is too late! They will like it before they know better!

Split Pea Recipe

  • 1 ham bone, with plenty of ham left on it or 2 cups of chopped ham
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped small
  • 2 carrots, diced or pulsed in your food processor once or twice
  • 2 teaspoons of salt (extra to taste after the soup is cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground, black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 quarts of water (if it evaporates while simmering, add a little bit.)
  • 2 pounds of split peas, rinsed
  • 4 Tablespoons of olive oil

Using a large stock pot, at least 8 quarts, put the olive oil in the pot and heat it. If you are using chopped ham, add the ham and saute it. If you are using a ham bone, wait to add it to the pot when you add the water. After you have sauteed the ham for about 5 minutes, add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and the red pepper flakes. Saute until the vegetables are tender. Add the water (and the ham bone if you are using one) and the bay leaves. Add the salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow this to gently boil for about an hour and a half. If you are using a ham bone, remove the ham bone from the pot, remove any ham and chop it into small pieces. If any large pieces of ham have fallen off the bone, fish it out of the pot and chop those pieces up, also .Return the ham and the bone to the pot and add the split peas. Maintain a gentle boil and stir the soup occasionally, so the peas do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook the peas in the soup for another hour and a half. Remove the bay leaves, test for salt and serve. If you need to add more water, go ahead. Just test your seasonings before serving.

The soup should be nice and thick. For a creamier texture, add a couple of Tablespoons of half and half to your bowl and stir it in. This will warm your insides!

Just Don't Tell Them It Is Lentil Soup!

As I said before, my kids did not grow up with lentil soup. I honestly thought brown soup could not be good, so I never ate it. When I finally did taste it, I was lucky enough to taste the recipe that I use today. One of my co-workers was from Spain. She was a great cook! I loved her creamy pear pie and when she brought lentil soup to share, I trusted her cooking ability enough to taste it. What had I been missing my whole life? What a fool I was! This was possibly one of the best soups I had ever tasted! Sadly, Terri died of cancer about 8 years ago at the age of 47, but her Lentil soup recipe is still here and I am proud to share it with you.

  • 1 ham bone, with plenty of ham left on it or 2 cups of chopped ham
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped small
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 teaspoons of salt (extra to taste after the soup is cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 5 quarts of water (if it evaporates while simmering, add a little bit.)
  • 2 pounds of lentils, rinsed 1 or 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup of uncooked long grain, white rice (if you wish you make this into what is called Italian Lentil Soup, substitute 8 ounces of ditalini pasta for the rice) Even though I am Italian, I prefer rice in this soup.
  • 4 - 5 Tablespoons of olive oil

Again, you will use a large stock pot and follow the same initial instructions as for the split pea soup.

Put the olive oil in the pot and heat it. If you are using chopped ham, add the ham and saute it. If you are using a ham bone, wait to add it to the pot when you add the water. After you have sauteed the ham for about 5 minutes, add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and the red pepper flakes. Saute until the vegetables are tender. Add the water (and the ham bone if you are using one). Add the salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and allow this to gently boil for about an hour and a half. If you are using a ham bone, remove the ham bone from the pot, remove any ham and chop it into small pieces. If any large pieces of ham have fallen off the bone, fish it out of the pot and chop those pieces up, also .Return the ham and the bone to the pot and add the lentils. Maintain a gentle boil and stir the soup occasionally, so the lentils do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook the lentils in the soup for another hour and a half. Add the rice and the potatoes. Continue to cook for another twenty minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Test for salt and serve. 

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