So it’s not the prettiest of soups, but it is, without a doubt, one of the heartiest, tastiest, and most comforting soups I’ve ever eaten. The making of this Slow Cooker Split Pea and Ham soup is an annual tradition in my family, which begins with the Christmas feast of John Morrell (the brand that has turned me into a holiday ham snob) ham with pineapple glaze and a whole host of other dishes like cheesy shredded potato casserole. The week following Christmas is when the soup-making begins and my mom and dad each get to work on their respective soups. My mom’s specialty is the wild rice and ham soup (side note: I’ve got an adaptation of it coming real soon!), and Dad’s in charge of the Split Pea and Ham.
Over the holidays, I loosely observed him as he made this soup because I knew this was a recipe I wanted to share on the blog. I noted his cooking style of throwing arbitrary amounts of veggies and ham into the pot with a bag o’ peas and chicken broth, and thought, “Oh man, how am I going to write this recipe?”
Once I got in the kitchen to make this myself, I was successful in chopping vegetables and documenting amounts, but when it came to adding the liquid, I was stuck. Too much broth and you’ve got a disappointing, runny soup. Too little and you’re scraping burnt peas off the bottom of the pot. I called my dad for help, expecting a “oh just pour a bunch in” type of response, but I was pleasantly surprised when he matter-of-factly, without hesitation, stated “6 cups.” Apparently that’s what he learned from observing my grandpa back in the day, and hearing that gave me warm and fuzzies. There’s more history to this soup than I thought!
Now, I did make a couple slight changes to the recipe to make this soup a bit lighter (healthier) and easier to cook. First, I nixed the potatoes because you don’t need them! The peas alone give the soup enough thickness to make it filling and hearty. Next, instead of making it in on the stove, I used my trusty slow cooker. Throw everything in the pot, turn the knob, go about your day. And in 8 hours, change into sweats (to facilitate the enjoyment of comfort food), and sit down to a steaming bowl of warm, smokey ham, tender carrots and celery, and slightly sweet and thickened peas.
Bonus: This soup makes perfect leftovers for lunch or dinner. And, the soup freezes well. I like to portion it out into little containers and freeze them. On those crazy mornings when I’m running late (also known as every morning) and have no time to make a lunch, I throw a container of this soup in my bag as I fly out the door. Seriously, I really can’t think of a better soup to make during these cold winter months. Give it a try!
- 5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bag of split peas (16 oz)
- 16 oz ham, chopped into small cubes
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups water (divided)
- 1 tbs Mrs. Dash seasoning (or any blend you prefer)
- Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
- Smoked paprika (optional)
- Combine the carrots, celery, onion, split peas, ham, broth, 1 cup of water, and seasoning in a slow cooker.
- Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 6-10 hours until the peas are broken down and thick.
- Add the additional 1 cup of water to thin out the soup if you prefer.
- Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley and a dash of smoked paprika (optional).
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 296 Fat: 2.5g Carb: 36g Fiber: 14.1g Protein: 24.5g Sugar 6.7g Sodium: 912mg
Weight Watchers Points (calculated on member website)
WW: 5 Points Plus
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