Aunt Suzy says . . . 

This delicious soup was one of many recipes for soup recently shared by Lynn Rossetto Kasper of The Splendid Table.  She learned this recipe from a cookbook from the 1600’s (!) given to her by her Dutch aunt.  I haven’t made split pea soup for ages and this one looked really good, so I thought I’d try it.  YUM!!  I love the exotic flavor the spices add –  allspice, ginger and cloves – and how they blend with the smokiness of the meat is a taste treat.  I made some adaptations, specifically less butter and smoked turkey instead of ham hock.  Whether you follow my recipe or Lynn’s original, you will not be disappointed.  Serve with a Dutch beer or a French Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc.

(see “Cooks Notes” for my thoughts about a vegetarian option for this recipe.)


1 large leek
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large carrot, peeled and diced small
2 medium onions, peeled and diced (1/4-inch)
Meat cut from 1/2 smoked turkey leg, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
Fresh-ground black pepper
3 medium red skin potatoes, unpeeled and diced (1/2-inch)
1 1/2 cups dried yellow split peas (or green if yellow are not available)
3 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme or several sprigs fresh thyme
1-2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
3 to 4 cups water


1. Prepare the leek by cutting away the green top and the root. You’ll use only the white portion. Slice the white stalk down its length and rinse it under cold running water to wash away any sand. Pat the leek dry with paper towels and slice it thin.

2. In a 6-quart pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat then add the butter.  When the butter is melted and bubbling, stir in the leeks, carrots, onions, and meat. Sauté until the onions begin to brown. Then stir in the potatoes, split peas, cloves, allspice, ginger, thyme, garlic, broth and water. There should be enough liquid to cover the peas and vegetables by an inch. Add more water if necessary.

3. Simmer the soup, partially covered, 30 minutes, or until the split peas are almost dissolved and the potatoes are tender. Remove the whole cloves and the thyme stems, if using fresh thyme. Taste the soup for seasoning.

Cook’s Notes:  Lynn mentioned that the cooking time will vary depending on how old the peas are.  They can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  I experienced this first hand – the peas took almost an hour to soften.   The original recipe called for salt to taste, but I think the saltiness of  meat is just right.  I recommend tasting the finished soup before you add any salt.

I think this could easily be made vegetarian, by using the vegetable broth instead of chicken and adding 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or a little chipotle pepper to replicate the smokiness of the meat.