Ham & Split Pea Soup with Herbed Croutons

Ladies and gentlemen, consider this post the second and last installment of Easter for Procrastinators Like me!

I'm guessing that the majority of last-minute Easter Dinner planners will be choosing ham as the main protein choice. But what are you going to do with all of that leftover ham? I teamed up with Tinselbox Holidays and Parties to make you this most delicious Ham & Split Pea Soup with Herbed Croutons! What's the secret ingredient? Read more below to find out!

There's no better time of the year to make Ham & Split Pea Soup! Okay, maybe when it's cold during the winter holidays. But to be straight up with you, this is the perfect comfort food in the San Francisco right now! Last night we had a crazy wind storm with heavy rain and this is the best way to warm up again. Whether or not it's raining where you are, I know you'll have so many leftover prepped vegetables in your kitchen from Easter dinner that your pantry and refrigerator will be begging you to use them up! 

So look no closer than the recipe below! Feel free to play with it as you'd like, but do know that the secret to the amazing flavor is....pig's foot! I bet you wouldn't have guessed! A good ham bone from your baked ham will do the trick as well!

Ham & Split Pea Soup with Herbed Croutons

Time: 2 Hours
Serves 8

8 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup leeks, chopped, white and light green parts only
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ cups celery, chopped
½ cup carrots, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup vermouth or dry white wine
1 lb dried split peas, sorted and rinsed
1 ½ cups Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 ½ cups ham steak, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
1 pig’s split pig’s foot or 1 ham bone

Herbed Croutons
2 tbsp melted butter
1 petit baguette, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup Parmesan-Reggiano, grated
1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Garnish
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup crème fraîche
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add bacon and heat over medium-low heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels. Cool, and break into bacon bits. Set aside.

Pour off all but 2 tbsp bacon drippings and heat pot over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, garlic, celery, carrots, and thyme. Season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, until carrots have softened.

Add vermouth to the stockpot and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until vermouth has mostly evaporated, about 4-5 minutes. Add split peas, potatoes, chopped ham, bay leaf, and pig’s foot. Cover entirely with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more water if too thick, 1.5 hours, until split peas are soft. Discard pig’s foot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, set your oven rack to the top position. Preheat your broiler. Add baguette slices to a baking sheet and brush the top sides with melted butter. Broil for 1-2 minutes, until golden. Flip croutons over and sprinkle with Parmesan, sage, and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return to oven, and broil for 1-2 more minutes, until cheese has melted.

Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle soup with olive oil and garnish with thyme leaves, reserved bacon bits, and crème fraîche. Serve with herbed croutons.

Like this soup? Check out a couple of my other recipes for comforting soups like Spicy Chicken Posole Soup with Garbanzo BeansThai-Infused Chicken Noodle Soup, and Persian Lamb Soup (Abgoosht)!