Thomas Keller’s Split Pea Soup

We received this fantastic cookbook for a wedding gift called Ad hoc at Home by Chef Thomas Keller– ( our good friends saw us drooling over it when they made us his asparagus poached egg salad over the summer at their house… thanks guys!)  it is a gorgeous collection of recipes, in a stunning book, by this amazing chef for meals made “ad hoc” and at home.  If you don’t know Keller, maybe you’ve heard of The French Laundry or Bouchon or even ad hoc…. anyhow, he’s world renowned and award-winning and we have some of his recipes now!  Here we made the Split Pea Soup, our way with some changes ( of course) but for the better- it’s easier and more streamlined Keller recommends cooling the stock after removing the aromatic vegetables, and before adding back the split peas and the ham hock to help the split peas cook more evenly, which given that we were going to puree them, didn’t seem to be worth the extra time so we just threw the peas and hock back into the hot stock and started the second cooking and we kept our veggies and blended em right on there- why toss out delicious carrots and onions?  We also couldn’t get leeks but instead used a red onion and a yellow onion to get 4 cups chopped onion, and used frozen peas,  it was still an incredible, velvety pea soup since it pureed yet you add in whole peas and chunks of salty ham for a nice bite and the flavors were rich and complex with this cooking method we’ve never bought a ham hock before at Urban Kitchen… Here we share this wonderful cold weather approved soup with you and hope that you enjoy making it and eating it even more!

Split Pea Soup

Adapted from a recipe by – Thomas Keller from The Ad Hoc at Home Cookbook


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped leeks, or more onion
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-2 smoked ham hock (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 3 quarts chicken stock ( not broth!)
  • 1 pound split peas, small stones removed, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups peas, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream or plain yogurt
  • Mint leaves


  1. Heat the canola oil in an 8 to 10 quart stock pot over medium heat.  Add the carrots, leeks, onions, and a generous pinch of salt.  Reduce the heat to low, cover with a parchment lid ( see ours below!), and cook very slowly, stirring occasionally, for 35-40 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.  Remove and discard the parchment lid.
  2. Add the ham hock and chicken stock, bring to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes.  Then add the split peas and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 1 hour, or until the split peas are completely soft (do not worry if the peas start to break apart, as they will be pureed).
  3. Remove the soup from the heat, and remove and reserve the ham hock to cool.  Season the soup with 2 tablespoons vinegar and salt to taste, and add the peas and crème fraîche.  Transfer some of the soup to a blender, filling it only about 1/3 full, and blend on a very low speed until pureed.  Transfer to a bowl and puree the rest of the soup in batches. or use an immersion blender right in the pot.  Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper to taste.  The soup can be refrigerated up to 2 days.  It will continue to thicken as it cools, add a bit of stock or water when reheating if it becomes too thick.
  4. Pull away and discard the skin and fat from the ham hock.  Trim the meat and cut into bite-sized dice.
  5. To serve, reheat the soup and ladle into warm bowls, passing the diced meat and mint leaves as garnishes.

Serves 6