Split Pea Soup with Prosciutto

Every once in a while I crave a good split pea soup. It always brings back memories of frosty winter afternoons spent at my Grandma Robert's house in Three Hills, Alberta. Her soup was nothing like the musty, pale sludge that comes from cans and chain restaurants. Nope, her split pea soup was thick and savory with strong ham flavor, a gorgeous vibrant green that beckoned tasting.

A week ago I looked my dwindling finances square in the eye and embarked on an Eat As Cheaply And Deliciously As You Can campaign. As I contemplated recipes and eyed my pantry contents, soup seemed to be the most economical route for menu planning. First I made a lovely Chicken Soup with Cilantro and Lime then tackled a hearty split pea.

There's something quite soothing to me about rinsing and sorting dried peas and beans. Perhaps it's reminiscent of playing with pebbles at the ocean's edge, the hard legumes made smooth and slippery by the water, cascading through my fingers in a pleasing fashion. Whatever the reason, I like it. :-)

After the peas were rinsed, I left them to dry in a colander while I chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic. I sauteed the onions until they were transparent, then added the rest of the vegetables, split peas and bay leaves, and covered the whole lot with chicken broth. While this simmered, I got out the prosciutto, chopped it into bite-sized pieces and fried them until they were nearly crispy.

When the peas were soft, I added the prosciutto and hot milk, stirring until thoroughly mixed in.

 Working in batches I blended the soup, leaving about 1/3 not blended because I like my pea soup a bit chunky.

Split Pea Soup with Prosciutto


1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon bacon fat
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
16 ounce package dried split peas
8 cups chicken broth
1 package prosciutto, diced and fried until almost crisp
1 cup hot milk
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, heat bacon grease and fry onions until transparent.
  2. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and split peas and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the broth and prosciutto, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or more, until the peas are tender.
  4. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Remove bay leaves and discard.
  5. Add the milk and, using a hand-held blender or potato masher, process until smooth. I like mine a bit chunky, so I only puree two-thirds of the mixture.


  1. Your photographs are so clear and vivid. The peas jump out at the reader.

    We are in soup mode. Could I make these with turkey sausage instead of the meats you list. We don't eat those. A substitute should still work, no, yes???

    Thanks for visiting.

  2. Absolutely! Any turkey sausage or turkey ham should work beautifully! :-)

  3. Your picture of those split peas is gorgeous. So vivid and visually appealing. This looks like a great recipe, especially with the bacon. Can you ever go wrong with bacon? I doubt it.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. You've got some great food here!

  4. Thank you, Joanne! :-) You are absolutely right - you can NOT go wrong with bacon :-)

  5. I hope you're having a wonderful holiday, Krista! What an incredibly amazing surprise to discover your blog. I'm absolutely riveted by your recipes and photos -- brilliant!! It's been a delight and a comfort to have known you this past year. Big love to you, and much happiness as the new year approaches. Jacqueline xx

  6. Ohhh, I'm SO glad you stopped by Jacqueline! Thank you so much for the love and happiness! You absolutely made my day :-)