I was very privileged to have lived with my grandparents for some time. In that time, every year when winter rolled around we would anticipate our favorite winter meal…Pea Soup. Not just any pea soup, mind you, granny’s pea soup. At the time, I was young and I never considered the trouble that went into making it. Now, after the years have rolled by and I’ve started making pea soup for my own kids, I realize just how much I really loved granny’s soup.

My gran was the strong and silent type. She would stand on her feet for hours, even though it must have tired her out. I never heard her complain once. Her energy seemed to outlive mine. Even as a young child, she was always there, waiting, and ready to set me straight. Now, as a mother I wonder where on earth she got this energy from. Until it dawned on me, the pea soup!

I’ve made it several times just the way I always saw her make it. I’m sure though she sneaked in a few ingredients that she never mentioned, after all, every chef has their secrets. So I’ve tried a few things of my own with a couple of variations but it never tastes quite the same as the way Gran made it. Here is her recipe.

Gran’s Pea Soup recipe
Serves 4-6 people

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 pound smoked ham (my gran always used deli smoked ham for ease of use)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, ground
2 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 pound green split peas (wash and pick them clean before using them)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (depending on your preferred taste)
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
Extra spices of your choice to taste

• Boil the kettle and prepare your stock if you’re using the cubes or powder versions.
• Sauté the onion, garlic and finely diced celery stalks until the onion turns soft and becomes almost translucent. It should smell simply fantastic by now. Add the carrot, and spices of your choice to taste. (Everyone has their favorite set of spices they use.)
• Time to add the prepared stock, smoked ham and split peas to the mix. Don’t forget to add the salt and pepper at this time too. Bring it to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the peas are nice and soft and the stock has thickened and cooked into the peas.

Serving suggestions
Slice and butter a French loaf and dip into the soup as you go along.

Add a touch of paprika to compliment the flavor of the smoked ham.
Use smoked chicken sausages or good salami as an alternative to the smoked ham.

share and let us know how your pea soup did at the dinner table. Did you try any of the variations? Maybe you have suggestions of your own that will spice it up?