Traditional Pea Soup

This simple version of a traditional pea soup recipe is sure to please.

Orange Marmalade Rolls

Origin: Fort Beauséjour—Fort Cumberland National Historic Site
Region: Atlantic (New Brunswick)
Period: Traditional
Course: Soups and Starters

Photo of French porringer Photo of French porringer
© Parks Canada

This 18th century pea soup recipe would have been enjoyed by the Acadian settlers who lived in the Chignecto area, which spans the current border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Peas were grown extensively in Acadian gardens and, in their dried form, were a staple in every home. The soup itself was healthy, hearty and filling – good food for a hard-working people.

Traditional Pea Soup


  • 2 cups | 500 ml dried peas
  • 12 cups | 3 litres water
  • ½ lb | 250 g salt pork
  • 2 med onions, chopped
  • 1 cup | 250 ml potatoes, diced (potatoes were a vegetable used at a slightly later period)
  • 1 tsp | 5 ml each salt and pepper


  • Soak the peas overnight in cold water. In a separate bowl, soak the pork in cold water to remove the salt.
  • The next day, put the drained peas, the onions and the pork in a large pot with the 12 cups of water and simmer slowly for at least 2 hours. Add the potatoes and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove the pork, cut into small pieces and place them in the soup. Season to taste. Serve with homemade bread.
  • Special note: Adding diced carrot and celery instead of the potatoes gives the soup a slightly sweeter taste.


Recipe tested by Chef David Fairbanks, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism

Recipe adapted from : Marielle Boudreau and Melvin Gallant, Le guide de la cuisine traditionnelle acadienne, Montréal/Moncton, Les Éditions Stanké et Les Éditions d’Acadie, 1980.