Soak peas in water to cover for 1 hour; drain. In heavy dutch oven, place peas, ham bone, garlic, onions, bay leaf, thyme, and 1-½ quarts water. Cover, bring to boil, then simmer 3 hours. Remove bone and bay leaf; rub soup through a sieve (discard whatever doesn’t go through). Return soup to low heat; stir in cream, seasonings, and ham.
Once in a French restaurant, I was served the most exquisite pea soup the world has ever known. Sad to say, the chef wouldn’t part with the recipe, so over the years I’ve worked at duplicating it. This recipe is close … Pea soup always tastes better the second day, so if possible refrigerate overnight. It should be reheated gently, and it may be frozen. Corn muffins go well with this soup. Most children seem to hate the very idea of pea soup, so give it to adults only.