Slow Cooker, Soups

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

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It’s officially October! I’m not a huge fan of colder weather, but I do love so many things that accompany the fall season. Picking pumpkins and apples, enjoying hot cider, going on hay rides, exploring corn mazes or finally having an excuse to break out the fuzzy socks and sweaters. My number one favorite thing about fall, however, is that it’s soup season. I love making soups, stews, and chilis in the crock pot or in a large stock pot. It makes the whole house smell warm and inviting and makes so many cheap meals for days to come.

Split pea soup is a recipe that invites a bit of nostalgia from my childhood where we enjoyed this at least once or twice a month through the fall and winter. A meaty ham bone or ham hock is definitely needed to give it that boost of ham flavor. While you can make it with just diced ham, it doesn’t give it the same smokiness or flavor that throwing in a quick ham hock provides. As with many of my other recipes, this can be quickly prepped in the morning so it’s ready to go at dinnertime.

Start with two pounds of dried split peas, and rinse these under cold water in a strainer. I usually find these sold in one pound bags in the dried beans section at the grocery store. Remove any debris or rocks as you clean them and drain before setting aside.

Gather the other ingredients minus the parsley and extra water. Wash the vegetables, then peel and cut the carrots into small pieces. Slice the celery and onions into small pieces, and mince the garlic and fresh thyme. I almost always use chicken bouillon for recipes requiring chicken broth or stock as it’s more economical than purchasing lots of chicken stock cartons, especially if you make soups all the time. If you choose to use bouillon instead of pre-made chicken broth, one cup of broth is equivalent to one solid bouillon cube or 1 1/4 tsp powdered bouillon per cup of water.

Lightly spray the crock pot liner with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Place the ham hock and diced ham on bottom, then add all of the ingredients minus the parsley and extra water; the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and black pepper. Pour in the chicken broth or stock, and gently stir to combine the ingredients. Cook on Low for 8 hours. (You can cook this for 4 hours on High, but if cutting the cooking time I recommend using an immersion blender to smooth out some of the peas and thicken the soup.)

Check on the crock pot an hour before it’s finished cooking, or a half hour if cooking on High. Add the three cups of water, one cup at a time and stirring gently until smooth. Cover with the lid and finish cooking before removing the ham hock. Pull any tender pork goodness from the hock and return it to the crock pot before throwing away the hock skin and bone. Serve with parsley and additional black pepper as desired and enjoy within three days if refrigerated. This recipe can also be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Enjoy!


Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Course: DinnerDifficulty: Easy
Servings

18

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking Time

8

hours

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs dried split peas

  • 8 cups chicken broth or stock

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 cup diced cooked ham

  • 1 smoked ham hock

  • 5 celery stalks

  • 4 carrots

  • 2 small onions

  • 3 Tbsp minced garlic

  • 4 tsp. minced fresh thyme

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper

  • 4 tsp. fresh parsley

Directions

  • Rinse peas and remove rocks and debris. Drain and set aside.
  • Wash vegetables and peel carrots. Thinly slice celery, carrots, and onion.
  • Spray 6 quart crock pot liner with cooking spray. Add ham hock and diced ham to bottom of crock pot. Add peas, celery, carrots, onion, minced garlic, minced thyme, bay leaves, and black pepper. Pour in chicken broth or stock.
  • Stir in ingredients, cover, and cook on Low 8 hours. For last hour of cooking, check on peas and stir in the three cups of water if needed.
  • Remove the ham hock and pull any tender meat to remove. Discard the bone and skin and add the pulled pork back into the crock pot. Serve with parsley or additional pepper if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you’re running short on time, you can cook this recipe in your slow cooker on High for 4 hours. No immersion blender is needed to smooth out the peas if cooking for the full 8 hours on low.
  • This recipe is for a 6 or 7 quart crock pot; if using a smaller one, cut the ingredients listed in half.
  • The ham hock is the secret ingredient for smoky ham flavor. No additional salt is needed as the ham hock has a high salt content, but you can add extra salt if you choose to.
  • Enjoy within 3 days refrigerated or 3 months properly stored in the freezer.

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