Pease Porridge Hot – Soup

People of a certain age may remember this childhood rhyme. The name refers to a type of porridge made from peas, or pease pudding, also known as pease pottage in “Middle English.”  (“Pease” was treated as a mass noun, similar to “oatmeal.”)

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

Pease pudding was a high-protein low-cost staple and, made from easily stored dried peas, was an ideal form of food for sailors back in the day, particularly boiled in accompaniment with salt pork which is the origin of pea (and ham) soup. There are many variations of this soup and it is a part of the cuisine of many cultures. 

Interesting tidbits about pease porridge from Wikipedia:

  • Pease Porridge and Pease Pudding are the same English dish known earlier as pease pottage. Pease Pottage is a small village in West Sussex, England which, according to tradition, gets its name from serving pease pottage to convicts either on their way from London to the South Coast or from East Grinstead to Horsham
  • In Laura Ingalls Wilder‘s fictionalized memoir Little House on the Prairie, young Laura recalls singing the song as “bean porridge hot.” Laura notes that she likes bean porridge hot or cold, but that in her house, it never lasts nine days.
  • A line in the poem was used for the title of the 1959 Billy Wilder film, Some Like It Hot.
  • In the 1966 Blake Edwards World War II comedy What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, Major Pott (Harry Morgan) includes the last lines of the rhyme in his rantings after he is driven mad from getting lost in a maze of catacombs under the Sicilian village.

This is my friend MaryLou’s recipe. She not only gave me the recipe to share on the blog, she brought us a generous portion to taste test – more like lunch for two. Yum – it is oh so tasty! It also freezes well.

Serves 6

Split-Pea Soup

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 2 cups ham finely diced pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 package of split peas
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups water (as needed)


  1. Brown ham in a skillet, then set aside.
  2. Dice onion, carrots, and celery stalk.
  3. Saute vegetables in olive oil in the same skillet.
  4. Add 6 cups chicken broth to vegetables.
  5. Add ham back to skillet.
  6. Add one package of split peas.
  7. Add water as necessary to reach desired consistency as peas are cooking.
  8. Cook on low for a couple of hours.
  9. Use potato masher to mash up some of the peas at the end.


Calories: 87 cal
Carbohydrates: 4 g
Fat: 3 g
Sodium: 816 g
Cholesterol: 20 g
Protein: 11 g
Fiber: 1 g

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top