Yellow Split Pea Soup

It’s Sunday and the weather channel tells us that, here in New York City, it feels like eleven degrees outside.  Eleven degrees.  Farenheit.

Soup?  Soup.

Days like today make your eyes water, your breath puff, your curled fingers brittle and numb.  Outside, I mean.  It seems eleven degrees is not very many degrees.  Hoods blow backwards, heads dip, eyes squint, and coats are hugged in tightly against the searing wind.  It’s jarring and painful and, frankly, entirely antisocial.  You just cannot look up from the dull pavement at the city’s marvelous bustle when you’re using every ounce of concentration you have trying to wedge your exposed chin into the too-short collar of your all-the-way-zipped-up coat.  You know?

This weather.  It’s unideal for anything, other than soup.  Warm soup, toasted bread, red wine.  Repeat.  January’s not so bad, I guess.

Yellow Split Pea Soup


  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 slices thick-cut ham or Canadian bacon, cubed (about 1 cup, cubed)
  • 1 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups dried yellow split peas, rinsed
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock


Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven set over medium high heat.  Sweat the onions until soft and translucent, then add the garlic, carrots and celery and cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the garlic from burning.  Add the ham or bacon, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook gently for 5 minutes, until warm and fragrant.  Add the split peas and stir to coat lightly with oil, then add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat a bit and simmer the soup gently until the split peas are tender and cooked through, thickening the soup, about 45 minutes.  Taste the soup, adjust the salt and pepper levels, and serve hot, with a side of crusty bread.

Yields 8-10 cups soup.

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