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soupe aux pois classique québécoise

Maple pea soup: Quebec tradition with salted bacon, ham or bacon

An ancestral dish at the heart of Quebec tradition

Pea soup occupies a special place in the culinary history of Quebec. Inherited from the first French settlers in the 17th century, this rustic soup was valued for its ability to provide warmth and comfort during Canada's long, harsh winters. Rich in nutrients and energy, dried peas were easy to store, making this soup a practical choice for families of the time. Over the centuries, it has become an iconic dish, representing both survival and conviviality.

Pea soup and sugar shacks

With the arrival of sugaring season, a festive period at the end of winter marking the maple syrup harvest, pea soup naturally finds its place in the sugar shack menu. These establishments, typically Quebecois, offer a unique culinary experience where pea soup rubs shoulders with taffy on snow, ears of corn, and other maple-based delights. The tradition of serving pea soup in sugar shacks highlights its importance in Quebec's gastronomic heritage, where it is often enriched with a touch of maple syrup to link the past to the present.

An evolving recipe

Over time, the pea soup recipe has evolved, adapting to tastes and the availability of ingredients. While salted bacon remains a traditional choice, the addition of ham or bacon offers tasty variations that will appeal to different palates. The possibility of incorporating maple syrup into the soup is a nod to the richness of Quebec's local products, offering a perfect balance between sweetness and salinity. Today, pea soup remains a symbol of sharing and authenticity, testifying to the history and culture of a people attached to their roots.

🔍 Information Details
⏱️ Preparation time 15 minutes (plus soaking the peas overnight if whole)
🍳 Cooking time 1 to 2 hours depending on the type of pea
⏲️ Total time 1 hour 15 minutes to 2 hours 15 minutes
🔧 Difficulty level Easy
🍽️ Servings 6 to 8 people
🔥 Calories (approximate) 350 per serving


  • 500 g yellow peas (split or whole), soaked overnight if they are whole peas
  • 200 g salted bacon, ham or bacon, diced
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried savory
  • 1.5 liters of chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (optional, for an authentic Quebec touch)



Q: Can you use split yellow peas instead of whole peas?
A: Yes, you can use split yellow peas with no problem. They require less cooking time and do not need to be soaked before cooking.

Q: Is it possible to make this soup vegetarian?
A: Absolutely. For a vegetarian version, omit the cured bacon, ham or bacon and use vegetable stock. You can add pieces of potato or other vegetables for more consistency.

Q: How long can this soup be stored in the refrigerator?
A: Pea soup keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Be sure to let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating it in an airtight container.

Q: Can this soup be frozen?
A: Yes, this soup freezes very well. Pour it into freezer-safe containers, leaving some room for expansion. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Q: What is the benefit of adding maple syrup to soup?
A: Maple syrup adds a subtle sweetness and unique depth of flavor to the soup, reinforcing its Quebecois character. It’s also a great way to showcase a local product.

Q: Can you make this soup in a pressure cooker or slow cooker?
A: Yes, this soup can be adapted for cooking in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. For the pressure cooker, follow your appliance's instructions for soups. In a slow cooker, cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

Q: How can you thicken soup if it is too thin?
A: If your soup is too thin, you can remove some of the peas and vegetables, blend them, then add them back into the soup to thicken it. Another method is to let the soup simmer uncovered to reduce the liquid.

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