Slow Cooker Pea & Ham Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 500g (1lb) dried split peas (Green or yellow work great)
  • 1.2kg (2.6lbs) ham hock, smoked or unsmoked (Or a meaty leftover ham bone)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt (adjust after cooking, ham adds saltiness)
  • 8 cups (2 liters) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

Instructions:

Prep and Soak (optional, but recommended):

  • Rinse the split peas thoroughly in a colander.
  • For quicker cooking and easier digestion, soak the peas for 1-2 hours or overnight in a large bowl filled with water. Drain the peas before adding to the slow cooker.

Combine:

  • Add all ingredients (soaked peas, ham hock, vegetables, herbs, spices, and broth) directly into your slow cooker.

Slow Cook:

  • Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, or HIGH for 5-6 hours, until the peas are very tender and the soup has thickened.

Shred the Ham:

  • Remove the ham hock from the soup. Let it cool slightly, then shred the meat, discarding any bone, excess fat, and skin.

Adjust & Blend (optional):

  • Remove the bay leaves.
  • For a chunkier soup, leave it as is.
  • For a smoother consistency, blend about half of the soup with a stick blender or transfer portions to a regular blender (be careful with hot liquids).

Finish and Serve:

  • Return the shredded ham to the pot.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
  • If the soup is too thick, add a bit of hot water to thin to your desired consistency.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley (optional).

Tips:

  • Smoked vs. Unsmoked Hock: Smoked ham hock adds extra depth of flavor. Unsmoked is also delicious.
  • Leftover Ham: Use a large, meaty ham bone with some ham still attached for similar flavor. Adjust cooking time downward if needed.
  • Stovetop Option: Can be made on the stovetop – simmer for 1-2 hours or until peas are tender.
  • Make It Vegetarian: Omit the ham and use rich vegetable broth for a hearty vegetarian soup. Add a dollop of crème fraîche or a swirl of olive oil when serving.

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