This Split Pea and Ham soup is a family favorite. Not only is it tasty and easy to make, but it is economical as well!
- 1 pound dried split peas, rinsed under cool water and drained
- 1 ham hock (I always get mine from our local Baraboo Meat Market and they are always perfectly meaty, but you can always supplement and add more ham if desired)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, or olive oil if you prefer
- 3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onions
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt, I usually wait to add this until after the soup has simmered and done
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (Optional)
- 8 cups chicken stock or water
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 3/4 t dried
Score the ham hock. Place in a slow-cooker on low, add peas and cover with broth.
In a fry pan, melt the butter (or olive oil) over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in to slow cooker.
Add to slow cooker, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes (optional), the bay leaf and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are tender, about 6-8 hours on low. (Add more water as needed, if the soup becomes too thick or dry.)
Take out ham hock and remove meat. Dice meat and put back in to soup, discard fat and bones.
*I like to mash the soup a couple of times with a potato masher before I add the meat back in.
*You can also add 1-2 cups of peeled and diced small potatoes about halfway through cooking.
Remove the bay leaf and discard. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.