1. Cook first 4 ingredients in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir in ham base and 4 cups of water until well blended. Add peas, thyme, salt, and pepper, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or until peas are done. Remove from heat; cool 30 minutes.
2. Drain peas, reserving cooking liquid for another use. Remove and discard onion, carrots, celery, and thyme sprigs.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon ham base.