Green pea and ham soup made with frozen peas for a sweeter, fresher tasting soup and a burst of summer flavour at any time of year.
Pea and ham soup
This green pea and ham soup tastes as bright and lively as that stunning green colour! Sweet, fresh tasting peas make a lovely foil to the salty ham for a soup that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
- Pea and mint soup made with frozen peas is the classic spring soup recipe
- Made in your power blender pea and lettuce soup is deliciously light
- Leftover salad soup is a great way to cut down on food waste as well as being oh so delicious!
Although pea and ham is a classic flavour combination, older recipes relied on marrowfat peas, dried or canned and slightly mealy. Their paler, yellowish colour gave rise to the nickname of the notoriously thick London fogs of yesteryear, the pea-souper.
These soups can be delicious, of course, but in this version, I have opted for frozen green peas.
Bright and vibrant, they keep that just-picked flavour preserved for months.
This means you can enjoy that wonderful summery flavour at any time of year and your soup is as green as the new shoots of spring.
What’s so special about frozen peas?
Garden peas are wonderful. Sweet, fresh and delicious, they belong to the same family as all those dried pulses or legumes that we tend to think of as rather virtuous. They are full of vitamins and minerals, with plenty of iron, vitamins A, C and K, and protein too.
The problem with peas is that the sugars start to become starchy almost as soon as they are picked. This means that unless you have them in your garden or allotment, fresh peas can become a bit mealy by the time they get to the cooking pot.
Freezing within hours of picking keeps them tasting the way they were when first picked, which means that frozen peas tend to taste fresher and better than any you can buy in the pod.
For this reason, in the early days of the frozen food boom, lorry drivers received bonuses for getting the peas to the factory in double quick time.
Quick to cook and ever-present in most home freezers, they are a great go-to ingredient whenever you are in a hurry.
Why make pea and ham soup?
- fast, easy and fuss free
- full of flavour
- looks stunning
- a nutritional powerhouse
Green pea and ham soup ingredients
- Frozen peas – quick and easy to cook
- Ham – always choose real sliced ham rather than over-processed ‘formed’ ham
- Stock – vegetable or chicken stock, as you prefer. Homemade is great but if you don’t have this, I favour the little pots over cubes, but either will work.
- Onion – one white/yellow onion, though you could use three or four shallots instead
- Olive oil – for frying
- Butter – salted or unsalted, adjust the seasoning accordingly
- Potatoes – a frugal way to thicken soup without adding fat
- Garlic – 2 cloves
How to make pea and ham soup – step by step
Before you start, read my step-by-step instructions, with photos, hints and tips so you can make this perfectly every time.
Scroll down for the recipe card with quantities and more tips at the bottom of the page.
Step One – First, prepare the vegetables, chopping the onion and potatoes into 1 cm pieces and the garlic finely. You do not need to peel the potatoes if the skins are thin and clean.
Step Two – Heat the butter and oil in the soup pan and then add the onion, cooking gently to soften it. When it begins to turn translucent, add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.
Step Three – Now add the potato and stock to the pan. Put the lid on, bring to a steady simmer and cook for ten minutes, or until the potato is cooked.
Helen’s Fuss Free Tip
I use a diffuser to keep the heat low and even. These are inexpensive and very good for keeping the heat low and even on the stove top, so they are well worth the investment.
Step Four – Add the peas. If they are still frozen, heat gently at first to defrost. Then simmer for a few minutes until they are cooked and tender.
Step Five – Scoop out a few of the cooked peas to use as a garnish. Then blend the soup using a stick blender (or jug blender if you prefer).
Helen’s Fuss Free Tip
IMPORTANT – When you blend hot soup in a jug blender or food processor, always remove the central bung and hold a folded tea towel over the hole. This allows the steam to escape. If you don’t, it can blow the top of the blender. This is one of the reasons why I use a stick blender!
Once the soup is blended, you can adjust the consistency, adding a little more stock if you prefer. Then season to taste with salt and pepper, and add a squeeze of lemon to serve.
Step Six – Finally, stir in the ham until it is heated through, reserving some for garnish.
Serve hot, garnished with reserved peas and ham.
Garnish to taste, perhaps with fresh chives or mint and croutons, and serve hot with your favourite fresh homemade bread or crackers.
- You can play around with the vegetable base according to what you have available. Swap in leeks or shallots for onion if you prefer.
- Add some chives, mint or dill to taste.
- Stir in a little cream cheese or cream towards the end for a richer soup.
This green pea and ham soup recipe will serve six with some hearty bread, so if you are making it for one or two, you will have plenty for another day.
Fridge – Once cool, cover and store in the fridge, where it will keep for up to three days. Reheat in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.
Freezer – Transfer the cooled soup to airtight containers and freeze your pea and ham soup for up to three months.
Reheating – Defrost your soup in the fridge over night, or on the kitchen counter for a few hours. Reheat in a pan on the stove top, or in a safe container in the microwave. When using the microwave, I like to use a Pyrex-style jug as you can lift it out one handed and pour it out easily.
Hints and tips
- Don’t overcook the soup once you have added the peas. You don’t want to cook the flavour out of them.
- Use a stick blender. They are cheap and don’t take up a lot of space in the kitchen, and can last for many years. It’s so much easier than a fancy jug blender, which needs extra care and attention when blending hot soup. If you must use a jug blender with hot soup, do not use the bung, but cover with a clean teatowel instead.
Absolutely. Cut it up into small pieces and fry until just starting to become crispy.
You can, reduce the stock by about a quarter, or add some extra peas. I like the potato, as it thickens and adds some creaminess.
More soup recipes
- Broccoli and Stilton soup, stylish, satisfying and full of flavour
- Classic carrot and coriander soup is fresh, zesty and delicious
- Leek and potato soup, comforting and tasty
- Explore all my delicious soup recipes
Green Pea and Ham Soup
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 (250 g) potato
- 500 ml stock
- 500 g frozen peas
- 100 g ham
- First, prepare the vegetables, chopping the onion and potatoes into 1 cm pieces and the garlic finely. You do not need to peel the potatoes.
- Heat the butter and oil in the soup pan and then add the onion, cooking gently to soften it. Then add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.
- Add the potato and stock. Put the lid on, bring to a steady simmer and cook for ten minutes, or until the potato is cooked.
- Add the peas. If they are still frozen, heat gently at first to defrost. Then simmer for a few minutes until tender.
- Scoop out a few of the cooked peas to use as a garnish. Then blend the soup using a stick blender (or jug blender if you prefer).
- Adjust the consistency with a little stock if necessary, and check seasoning. Then stir in the chopped ham, reserving a little for garnish. Heat through.
- Serve hot, garnished with the reserved peas and ham.
Leave a Reply