Your kids will eat this. It only has 7 ingredients, not counting the seasonings and aside from the ham and peas you probably keep everything in stock. As with most of my recipes there is flexibility in in how to prepare it and it only took a few minutes to assemble — then I let it sit on the stove. The peas and ham do all the work. Here is what I did. I retrieved a ham bone with plenty of meat still attached from the back of the freezer and defrosted it. It was not freezer burned and very usable. So I went out and bought a bag of dried split green peas — something I actually don’t keep on hand in the house. I tossed the ham flavor packet that came with the peas in the garbage. Ham flavor? Really how do they make ham flavor and put it in a small packet? I don’t really want to know, actually I do, just don’t want to eat it. Why take something natural and healthy like peas and ‘chemical it all up’, right? But I digress.

Using a left over ham bone is a great way to economize and utilize a left over that is usually regulated to the trash. When you make a soup from it the remaining meat literally falls off the bone. You can also purchase something called a ham hock, which is the shin of the pig. Slow cooking a ham hock with beans, kale or some sort of bitter greens is a staple in Southern cooking as it is throughout Germany, Austria, Scandinavia and Poland where they serve it as main course alongside Sauer Kraut or any sort of root vegetable. Years ago you could get ham hocks for almost nothing from a good butcher. Now they are still inexpensive enough. If you can’t get either, pick up a ‘ham steak’ and cut it into cubes.

I also add a can of white beans to the soup to boost the protein level. If you are going to make a smooth soup and puree it, the beans also help you attain that desired creamy thickness.


  • 1 lb Bag Split Dried Green Peas
  • 12 Cups Water
  • 1 Ham Bone or Ham Hock
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 2-3 Carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 Stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 Tsp. Butter
  • Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste
  • 1 Can Great Northern Beans (about 15 oz) optional


  1. Chop the onion and add to a large soup pot or Dutch oven with the butter. Sauté the onions in the butter which will caramelize nicely and the butter will become brown. Here is where you add a lot of flavor! Add your carrots and celery and cook till soft, careful not to burn the butter, so watch the heat.
  2. Add the ham bone and whatever meat you have. Add about 12 cups of water, More or less may be needed. It depends on how big the ham bone is. Bring to just a boil and reduce heat. Cook for at least an hour.
  3. Remove ham bone and flake off whatever meat remains and return to soup. Discard the bone. Add the beans, if desired, and salt and pepper to taste. You may or may not need to add some water. Cook for at least another 30 minutes until the beans are soft.
  4. If desired, put an immersion blender to it and puree the soup. Serve hot.