Split pea soup is my favorite soup. Period. There are others that come close and others still that are better suited to specific occasions (like chicken noodle soup when you’re feeling sick), but split pea soup beats them all. I think one of the reasons I love it so is because it’s embedded in my childhood memories. I can remember my father coming home on sundays around noon with a baguette in hand and my mother serving split pea soup for lunch. I distinctly remember buttering the baguette and pouring a little soup on top with my spoon and then eating that combination and loving it each and every time. It was a “thing” for me.
The best split pea soups are made with a ham bone simmering along with the peas, flavoring and seasoning them gently as they soften. I usually wait to make my favorite soup until I have a leftover ham bone. I know I could just buy a ham hock at the grocery store and sometimes I do, but they are never as good as the ham bone that you have leftover. Knowing that you have split pea soup to look forward to allows you to carve around the bone a little recklessly, knowing that none of the ham left on the bone will go to waste. In fact, I usually try to leave as much meat on the bone as I can get away with and then chop that up into the soup at the very end.