A French Canadian Tradition

When I was little, we spent every New Year’s Eve with my dad’s family. That meant huge pots of maple baked beans, ham and au gratin potatoes to feed the houseful of aunts, uncles, first and second cousins … and a few neighbors too.

But my favorite memory came a day later, when a quieter bunch (dare I say, hung over from the shots and beers?) of hungry family members started the afternoon with steaming bowls of Memere’s amazing soupe aux pois and homemade brown bread with raisins steam-baked in coffee cans – a true taste of old Quebec.

I’ve adapted her bountiful measurements to a more manageable eight servings for the soup. Tune in over the weekend for the bread recipe!

1 pound dried yellow peas (split or whole)
8 cups water
1 ham bone
1 small shallot, finely grated
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup fresh parsley (1 tablespoon if dried)
1 small bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Wash and sort peas. Soak in cold water overnight. Drain peas and place in a large soup pot. Add 8 cups of water, ham bone, shallot, carrots, celery, parsley, bay leaf, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until peas are very tender, about 2 hours, adding more water as needed. Remove ham bone. Strip off any good meat pieces, chop and return ham pieces to soup without the bone. Discard bay leaf. Remove one cup of peas from soup, let cool. Puree then add puree to soup for a creamy consistency. If desired, season to taste with salt and pepper


  1. One of the world's finest comfort foods. Thanks, Deb, as always,and happy new year!

  2. Thanks for popping by my blog! I am definitely interested in the brown bread recipe--I adore brown bread!

  3. I've been wanting to cook more with lentils and grains this year. This looks wonderful!


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