French Recipes French Cuisine French Food

Potage Purée de Pois Cassés

A hearty split-pea soup with an attractive appearance and delicious flavour.


  • 14 oz. dried green split peas
  • 1 quart water or chicken stock
  • Bouquet garni, made of 2 parsley sprigs, 2 chopped celery tops and 1 bay leaf, tied together
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • ham bone (optional)
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 4 oz. salt pork, finely diced
  • 4 oz. finely chopped carrots
  • 1 ½ oz. finely chopped onions
  • 1 large leek, chopped (white part plus 2 inches of green) or 1 extra onion, finely chopped
  • scant 2 oz. coarsely chopped spinach or lettuce leaves
  • 3 oz. shelled fresh green peas or substitute defrosted frozen peas
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lb. baked ham, cut into ½ inch cubes( about 2 cups)
  • 1 oz. soft butter

1.Wash the split peas thoroughly under cold, running water. Bring 2 pints of water or chicken stock to the boil in a large, heavy saucepan and drop in the peas.

2.Add the bouquet garni, the thyme and the ham bone, if you use it.

3.Reduce the heat and simmer half-covered for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the peas are tender but not mushy.

4.While the peas simmer, melt 1 oz. of butter in a large, heavy frying pan, and brown the diced salt pork until it is crisp and renders its fat. Lift out the pork and cook the carrots, onions, leeks,and spinach or lettuce leaves in the fat left in the frying pan.

5.Cook without a lid over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and the leaves have wilted.

6.When the split peas are tender, add all the vegetables, including the fresh green peas to the soup and simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes.

7.Remove the bouquet garni and the ham bone. Purée the soup through a food mill into a large bowl, and then rub it through a fine sieve back into the saucepan.

8.Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the ham cubes and bring the soup to simmering point over a low heat. If the soup seems too thick, thin it with a little chicken stock or water.

9.Before serving, lift the pan off the heat and stir in the soft butter, ½ oz. at a time. Ladle the soup into a large tureen or soup bowls.
(serves 4-6)

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