I recall this soup from my childhood, my school and even kindergarten years. Pea soup is very rich, fragrant and delicious. It is also very good in cold weather. The cooking of it is quite simple and fast. 20-25 years ago you could get peas at any store in Russia in few varieties – yellow, green, whole or halves. The halves were especially popular for some reason, they were cheap and in demand.
Pea soup in Germany is practically a national dish and usually is served with smoked pork. Similarly, in Netherlands pea soup is cooked from crushed green peas with pork. Russian version of this soup is cooked with potatoes and served with crackers or toast.
This recipe is my grandma’s – she used to make pea soup with smoked ribs and served it with garlic croutons made in the oven. Fantastically delicious!
Yellow Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Shank
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled, diced
- 3-4 medium potatoes, peeled, chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 lb. smoked ham shank
- 2 cups yellow spilt peas, rinsed, soaked for 2 hours
- fresh parsley, chopped
- For the croutons:
- day old French bread
- olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
To make the homemade croutons: Preheat oven to 400F. Cut bread into small cubes and spread onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the bread with olive oil, salt, garlic, pepper and paprika. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden and crispy.
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat add the olive oil. Sauté the onion, carrots, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for about 5 minutes. Add 2 quarts of water and the smoked ham shank. Bring to a boil and cover, then reduce heat to a medium simmer. Cook for about 1,5 hours, or until the ham shank is very tender and falling off of the bone.
Remove ham shank from soup and shred the ham from it. Discard the bone. Bring the broth back to a medium simmer and add the split peas, potatoes and the shredded ham. Cook the soup for another 20 minutes, or until the split peas are soft. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Stir in the fresh chopped parsley. Serve with homemade croutons.
For more Russian recipes, visit Russian Cuisine page.