Thanks to a tip from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, I can make Instant Pot split pea soup as thick as any fog.1
That tip? Make sure to quick release the pressure. The pressure release starts a vigorous boil inside the pot, boiling, roughing up the peas and releasing their starch into the soup. My pea soups used to be a little watery; now I can practically stand a spoon in them. (Not really, but you know what I mean.)
Pork and peas are a perfect pair, so I add pork in two different ways. A smoked pork hock gives up its flavor to the peas, and cubed ham adds meaty bites to the soup. I also sauté my vegetables - a mix of onion, celery, carrot, and garlic - to add a sweet undertone to the bowl. Don’t skip the sauté step - the soup will be bland without it.Print
Instant Pot Split Pea Soup with Ham. Soup as thick as a fog, from dried split peas, in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 celery rib, minced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices (or 4 ounces pre-sliced carrots)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 pound green split peas, sorted and rinsed
- 1 medium pork hock (about 1 pound)
- 8 ounces cubed ham
- 6 cups water
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Sauté the aromatics and cubed ham: Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat in another pressure cooker), add the butter, and wait for the butter to melt and stop foaming, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and cubed ham to the pot, and then sprinkle with the dried thyme and ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
- Add peas, hock, and water to the pot: Add the split peas to the pot, nestle the smoked ham hock in the peas, pour in the water, and stir in another ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Pressure cook the soup for 18 minutes with a quick pressure release: Lock the lid on the pot and pressure cook for at high pressure for 18 minutes (Manual or Pressure Cooking setting in an Instant Pot), or 15 minutes in a stovetop PC. When the cooking time is over, quick release the pressure. If the quick-released steam starts spitting, close the quick release valve and let the pressure come down naturally for a few minutes before starting the quick release again. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the scalding hot steam.
- Season and serve: Fish the pork hock out of the pot and discard - it gave up its flavor to the soup. Stir in the fresh ground black pepper, serve, and enjoy!.
Don’t go over the half-full line on your pot when cooking split peas. They tend to foam up and can block the pressure valves, which could be bad news. There’s a reason everyone has a family story about grandma’s pressure cooker exploding and spraying pea soup all over the kitchen…and it starts with an overfilled pressure cooker.
This recipe is sized for a 6-quart pressure cooker, right up to the half-full line. Halving the recipe is fine, but don’t increase the ingredients unless you have a larger cooker.
6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker)
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Soup
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