French Canadian Pea Soup
This authentic French Canadian recipe is a classic belly warmer and perfect for a cold day. Split-pea soup with a ham bone, ham hock or salt pork. Make it a vegetarian split-pea soup by leaving out the ham bone and using vegetable stock instead of water.
all in one piece
This soup is excellent reheated. For a truly authentic version of Quebec's "soupe aux pois" use whole yellow peas, salt pork, and herbs. Outside fo Quebec, it tends to be difficult to find whole yellow peas so we typically have to settle for yellow split-peas.
Alternatively to dried or fresh herbs, "herbes salees" (herbs preserved with salt) are frequently used; either home-made or purchased commercially.
Pea soup prevails as a popular dish in restaurants where tourists can enjoy a true and authentic taste of old Quebec.
If using whole dried yellow peas. Wash and sort the peas and soak in cold water overnight. Simply rinse before using, when using split-peas.
Add the drained peas to a large pot; add the salt pork, onion, celery, carrots, parsley, bay leaf, savoury, water and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Bring to the boil then reduce heat down to a simmer. Simmer over low heat, occasionally stirring, until the peas are very soft, about 2 hours. Add more water if needed.
Remove the salt pork (if using); chop and return to soup. Discard bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to serve pea soup
Following cooking, the pork is commonly diced and returned to the soup. Sometimes the pork or ham is removed, thinly sliced and served on the side or as a topping.
Newfoundland Pea Soup
Newfoundland Pea Soup is quite similar but typically includes more vegetables such as diced carrots and turnips, and the soup is often served topped with small dumplings.
Split-pea soup with ham bone
Use a ham bone or ham hock instead of the salt pork.
Thick pea soup
For a thicker consistency (although this is not traditional) a cup or two of cooked peas may be puréed then returned to the soup.
In some regional variations, garlic, leeks, different vegetables or a ham bone are added for flavor.