Spanish Peas & Ham

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If there is one weeknight dinner that is our all-time favorite, it’s Spanish ham and peas.  This recipe made its way into our family via my brother-in-law, who is from Madrid, Spain.  He made it for us during a visit, and we loved it. That was many years ago, and we’ve been making it at least once per month since.

This recipe is versatile because you can use any type of ham.  The original Spanish version would have likely included jamon Iberico or Serrano–thinly sliced Spanish hams famous for their nutty flavor and buttery texture. The Italian version of this recipe calls for prosciutto. We’ve used smoked ham in this dish, too; however, I prefer Firsthand Foods’ fresh Petite Ham.  It caramelizes nicely with the onions and creates a deep pork flavor that makes this recipe perfect as a main dish.

As with most of our recipes, there are ways to put your own spin on Spanish peas and ham.  Try using bacon drippings instead of olive oil for a touch of smokiness.  Try Manchego, Asiago, or another hard salty cheese grated on top.  Enjoy playing with this recipe and making it a family favorite!


1 pkg. Firsthand Foods Petite Ham Slices, diced
2 pkgs. frozen peas
1 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Fill a 5-quart stockpot with water. Add 1 tsp. salt.  Bring to a boil and add the peas.
  2. Simmer the peas for 15 minutes.
  3. While the peas are simmering, heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil in a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Add the diced ham and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and continue sautéing until ham is browned and onion is caramelized (about 7-8 minutes)
  5. Drain the peas reserving some of the cooking liquid. Turn the heat to medium.  Add the peas to the ham and onion mixture.
  6. Stir to combine and add ½ cup reserved cooking liquid. Stir to coat and deglaze the pan.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow mixture to simmer for about 1-2 minutes.
  7. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6