CROCK POT SPLIT PEA SOUP
This is the time of year when I would start saying to Allen, “I’m cold…”. In his diligence to control heating costs, he typically tried to ignore me for a while. Most people who know me are aware of the fact that I am not very ignorable.
I would walk by and turn the heat up a notch. He would saunter by and turn it down a notch. He would show me the heating bill, and I would put my cold hands on his face. Then we would both murmur, “I know, I know…” But I think we are not the only couple who had thermostat wars.
Ultimately, I would head for the kitchen and that made us both happy! I love making soul-satisfying, tummy warming soup. Often, I make bread to go with it. If you would like a good yeast raised bread recipe, try this Chef’s Bread. For a faster but very delicious quick bread, try this Cheddar Cheese Soda Bread.
In addition to tons of other food, I usually serve a large, glazed ham at Christmas dinner, and end up freezing the bone with chunks of meat on it. I usually have a few chunks of ham from the platter to add to the freezer also.
Sometime in January, when I fear my hands and feet won’t get warm again until May, I thaw that ham bone and have at it.
If you like split pea soup, you will enjoy this easy recipe. I just toss the ham bone in the slow cooker along with vegetable stock, large chunks of carrots, celery, onion and a bag of split peas. Honestly, the last time I made this, I deliberately went out in the cold garage just so I could come back in and smell the aroma! And to be honest, you don’t even need a ham bone. I have made this with just the vegetables to have vegetarian version.
After about 8 hours, I fish out the ham bone, and pick off a few more bits of ham. The split peas have melted down and thickened the stock enough so you can serve it as is. But I like to whir my stick blender through the mixture to make a more cohesive, smooth soup. Then I add the chunks of ham back in.
Since this makes so much, I often end up giving some away. I package it in single portions in microwaveable containers. This is the kind of soup that gets thicker when chilled. You can make it ahead of time or refrigerate leftovers and then reheat to bring it back to soupy consistency. Warm it on the stovetop or in the microwave before adding more stock or water, it may not be needed.
SLOW-COOKER SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH HAM
4 carrots, cut into chunks*
3 medium potatoes, cut into chunks*
3 celery stalks, cut into chunks*
1 onion, cut into chunks*
extra leftover ham, cut or pulled off the bone
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. thyme, or thyme sprig
8 c. vegetable or chicken broth (if you like it thick, use 8 c.)
1 pkg (about 2½ c. or 1 lb.), dried split peas
1.If desired, you can sauté the ham bone and vegetables in a bit of oil to heighten the roasted flavor.
2. Combine all ingredients in a LARGE Crock Pot and cook on low for about 7-8 hours (or on high for about 4-5 hours). Remove bay leaf and thyme sprig before serving. Use stick blender to make a smooth soup. Serve with fresh artisan bread.
* If you prefer a chunky, non-blended soup, cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, and don’t cook the soup as long. Check it after about 5 hours on low to see if the peas and veggies are cooked.