The Literate Chef

Thick as Fog Pea Soup

In Recipes, Soups on December 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM

One has often heard the cliché “The Fog was as Thick as Pea Soup.” Last week, having cooked up a big batch of Pea Soup to warm our innards during this dreary, cold and damp (but not foggy) New England winter, which started just after Thanksgiving, and, according to the calendar, about 3 weeks before the first day of winter, I decided to research the genesis of this old bromide. Growing up with Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens as my entertaining companions, as well as Frank Sinatra, I was drawn to Google references about Foggy London Town and discovered this gem:

Further on, I came across this old nursery rhyme that I hadn’t thought about in ages:

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

This pea porridge will not sit in the pot for nine days in our home, but it will help to warm our viscera for a few weeks, and if half of it is frozen, it might last another month, but it’s so good that I highly doubt it.

Thick as Fog Pea Soup

(30 minutes active preparation time, 20 minutes active cooking and 50 minutes unattended cooking)


2 lbs. green split peas, rinsed well
1 large onion diced, about 2 cups
10 cloves garlic chopped, about 1/4 cup
4 celery stalks diced, about 1 cup
3 carrots diced, about 1 cup
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 packets of Goya Sabor a Jamón (ham flavored concentrate) *
4 Quarts of water


  1. In an 8 qt. pot, add garlic and onions and sweat over medium- low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add celery and carrots, and sweat for 5 minutes more, stirring periodically.
  3. Mix in the Goya Sabor a Jamón and stir well for 1 minute more.
  4. Remove the pot from heat, add the peas and water, cover and bring to a rapid boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 50 minutes.
  6. Stir periodically, to prevent peas from sticking to the bottom.
  7. Transfer to a food processor in batches, pulse process until fairly smooth, then add to a clean pot. Continue until all of the soup has been processed.

Just before serving, add some cut-up hot dogs, about 2 per person (cut 3/4 inch thick) and heat thoroughly. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil to each bowl.

*This is a quick and easy recipe and the Goya Sabor a Jamón adds a nice smoked pork flavor to the soup. However, the ingredients listed in order of highest concentration are salt & MSG. So if you have an aversion to them, then take the time and expense to substitute them with Smoked Ham Hocks (2), a Ham Bone, or a Prosciutto End. That is how we usually make our pea soup, but in this case the Goya Sabor a Jamón worked just as well, and we didn’t have to go out to the market on a cold and dreary  day.

Pea Soup as thick as fog, enjoyed by the fire place, that says winter on Cape Cod!


  1. Given the weather a little risotto con fungi works very well! I’ve got some knockout recipes available.

    Buon Natale!!!

  2. My dad used to float pieces of hot dogs in split pea soup and lentil soup. I remember buying them at the butcher – loose, never all packaged up. Thanks for bringing back a memory! Rachel (Nancy’s friend from HWS)

    Sent from my iPhone

    • You are welcome Rachel, it’s been years, I hope you are well. Big Mike did the same thing, with both pea soup and lentil soup. But his soups came in a can from Progresso, quick and good were his watch words.

  3. I’d never heard of the Goya Sabor a Jamon….very clever idea. I shall try and buy some on line.

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