Friday, December 21, 2012

Denny Boyd’s Christmas Eve Pea Soup

My late colleague Denny Boyd and I briefly shared an office. He begged for release because he claimed all I did was yak on the phone and talk to my plants. It didn’t matter that I had no plants, but Denny and I high-fived it when his complaints resulted in a private office for each of us. When Denny moved into his new digs, he left behind his wonderful recipe for pea soup, which Ive made often. 

I change the ingredients each time I prepare Denny’s soup recipe, which has become such a departure from the original that I could almost call it my own. Regardless, as an homage to an old friend, I’ll always call this great soup recipe his.

Denny Boyd’s Christmas Eve Pea Soup:
3 c. dried yellow or green split peas (see Note)
8 c. water 
2 smoked pork hocks or 1 large ham bone (see Further Note)
10 whole peppercorns, cracked
¼ c. coarsely chopped onion
2 chopped celery, including some leaves
1 c. diced ham, visible fat removed and/or meat from pork hock
1 c. peeled and diced garlic-flavored sausage such as Polish kielbasa (a 7-oz. or 200 g piece is just about right; see Yet Another Note
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced 
1 c. whole milk
One 10 oz. (284 mL) can condensed beef bouillon soup
2 tsp. seasoning salt

Rinse split peas well. Soak 1 hr. in cold, fresh water. Bring to a boil in same water. Reduce heat, adding pork hocks or ham bone and peppercorns. Simmer 1 hr. Add onion and celery. Simmer 1 hr. further. Remove hocks or ham bone, dicing meat. Discard bone and set aside. 

Purée soup using hand or conventional blender or food processor. Add diced meat from bone, additional ham with fat removed, sausage, carrots, milk, and bouillon. Simmer 20 min. Season shortly before serving. Yields 8-to-10 generous servings.

Note: To learn about the cooking and textural differences between lentils and split peas, I recommend reading

Further Note: I normally substitute a ham bone (which is cheap) for pork hocks (which are expensive). In my opinion, the slight difference in the taste doesn’t justify the added expense of using smoked hocks. 

Yet Another Note: Although I did, theres no need to remove the casing from this sausage! It’s edible.

Measure out split peas

Rinse well
Cut ham bone from meat -
or use smoked hocks

Free at last! 

Bring peas, water, pepper and hocks or bone to a boil

After an hour's simmering, add onion and celery.
Simmer a further hour and purée.

Remove meat from bone. Dice additional ham. Add to soup

Peel casing from garlic sausage. Dice and add to soup

Season and serve: Good tidings of comfort and joy!


  1. Hi Nicole,

    I was pleased to see that you were posting a pea soup recipe by my father. I'm not familiar with this particular name, but it closely resembles an earlier incarnation, Pierre's Nort' Woods Pea Soup. I'm guessing he renamed it to suit different occasions. My father and I briefly shared a kichen when I was an adult, and found ourselves bickering over who could stir/season the soup. Obviously, soup making runs in the family. I enjoy your blog, thans

    Linda Boyd

    1. Thanks for the note, Linda! Which came first - the chicken or the egg? Denny's soup, or Pierre's? I love your Dad's recipe - but love my own version of it even better! xox Nicole

  2. Your soup recipe today is too high sodium for me.....I have to watch my sodium intake - Paulette P., Toronto, Canada


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