Split pea soup has been one of my favorite soups since I was a little girl.
It always makes me think of home and family. From my grandfather’s WWII Navy Seaman recipe that was tasty, but way too high in fat (I wouldn’t be surprised if he used lard) and way too salty. To my mother’s equally tasty, yet much more heart-healthy version that she always made with our leftover Easter or Christmas ham. To the famous Pea Soup Andersen’s specialty that my parents always stopped for in Buellton on our way home from one of our numerous family camptrips up the California, Oregon, and Washington coast.
But, good split pea soup — even my mother’s recipe — is usually way too high in Points for me to enjoy guilt-free. And most “light” versions of this dish taste too watery and bland.
So, I was thrilled to discover Gina Homolka’s recipe early this year. Having already successfully tried several of Gina’s Skinny Recipes on my family, I felt confident that her Weight Watchers-friendly version of split pea soup would still taste delicious. I used some of our leftover smoked Christmas ham to make it for my husband and our kids shortly after the holidays. The kids, who had never tried split pea soup before, loved it and went back for seconds. Since then, it has become one of our family staples whenever we have leftover ham or just a leftover ham bone.
The only adjustment I make to Gina’s recipe is a slight concession to my husband. I add some extra ham, picking the leanest pieces possible, because he likes a bit more meat than what comes off the ham bone or the ham hock.
I am taking advantage of a smoked ham bone and the sudden cool rainy weather this week to make up a batch for dinner on Friday night!
- 1 bag of dried split peas
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove or more if you like more garlic, use 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 8 cups fat-free chicken stock
- 2 tsp of olive oil
- 2 carrots – chopped
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 Ham hock or smoked ham bone
- 1 cup diced cook lean ham
- Wash peas and drain them. In a pot, saute onions and garlic in about 2 tsp of oil.
- Add peas, carrots, ham hock and your chicken stock, then cover the pot and let it come to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once it boils you can reduce heat and cook for about two hours (beans should be very soft by then). Make sure to check the water and consistency. You may need to add hot water if it becomes too thick.