Split Pea Soup with Ham
A mere quarter cup of dried split peas provides 13 grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein, and 10% of your recommended daily iron intake. They are also high in Vitamin B1, folate, copper and a long list of other minerals. Here, they cook down into a thick, creamy soup so there is no need to get out the blender. To make this soul-warming soup even heartier, you can add a diced potato along with the following ingredients.

Yields 8 servings.


Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed and well drained
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth (see notes)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped or cut into slices (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 smoked ham hock (see notes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional for serving: croutons (I love this recipe!), a few thyme leaves

Steps

  1. Mix all of the ingredients except the ham in 5 0r 6 quart slow cooker. Nestle the ham hock in the center.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours (or on high heat for 3 to 4 hours) or until the peas are completely tender. Remove the ham hock from the slow cooker, and place on a plate or cutting board to cool slightly.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, pull the meat from bones, and chop or shred into small pieces. Discard the bones and skin, and add the ham pieces to the soup.
  4. Stir well and add some freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste. (You may or may not wish to add salt depending on the type of broth used.) Garnish as desired and enjoy. Leftovers will keep for about a week in the refrigerator and freeze well.

Notes

  • The smoked ham hock provides exceptional flavor in this soup. I often trim some of the exterior fat before cooking and there is truly no flavor loss without it. I have also made this soup with all water and no chicken broth. In that case, you will need to add additional salt to taste.

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