Make the Best Pea Soup in Chicago, at Home

by Kimberly Hartke

I absolutely love split pea soup, especially with chunks of ham in it. I order it whenever it is on the menu in restaurants, and when I was single, a thermos of split pea soup was often a satisfying take-to-work lunch. I frankly can’t remember what ever happened to the recipe I used to make back then. But, not to worry, a great chef is sharing hers with us today!

Apparently, this Chicago cafe has a fantastic recipe. Their Pea Soup is the local favorite, and the most requested soup at Mather’s—More Than a Café, according to Mary Beth Lutjen, Master of Culinary Delights.

Lutjen runs the culinary services and manages the cooks at all three Mather’s locations. She describes the split pea soup as unique and creative, but still basic, which is what Mather’s guests love most about this comforting dish.  All of the soups that the Mather’s team creates are made fresh and from scratch.

Mather’s—More Than a Café Best Ever Split Pea Soup Recipe

2 lbs dried split peas, rinsed
2 onions, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon pepper
4½ quart chicken bone broth (stock)


Combine all ingredients in stock pot. Bring to boil. Cover. Simmer for approximately 2 hours. Stir frequently. Add more water to achieve desired consistency. Serve.

Feel free to add your meat of choice to change up the recipe. Here is where I would add my cubes of cooked ham. Lastly, (if you are not a low carb dieter like me) Mary Beth suggests you garnish it with chunky croutons.

If you live in the Chicago area, visit one of the Mather’s—More Than a Cafés. Try the soup, and let us know in the comments on this blog how you liked it!

Thanks, Chef Mary Beth, for allowing me to share your recipe with my readers!

More About Mather LifeWays

Since I am a health and wellness blogger, I want to share more with you about this interesting organization. Apparently, they are more than just a restaurant chain.

Based in Evanston, Illinois, Mather LifeWays enhances the lives of older adults by creating Ways to Age WellSM. Founded in 1941 by entrepreneur and humanitarian Alonzo Mather, Mather LifeWays is a unique non-denominational, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing a continuum of living and care; making neighborhoods better places for older adults to live, work, learn, contribute, and play; and identifying, implementing, and sharing best practices for wellness, workforce issues, memory care support, and empowering caregivers.

To learn more about their senior residences, Community Initiatives, and Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, call (847) 492.7500 or visit

This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival, see more delish dishes on Kelly the Kitchen Kop blog!

Looking for good sources for ingredients? Check the Hartke is Online! Resources page!