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
Soup and Sandwich Recipes:
Tomato, Fennel, and White Bean Soup
Brussels Sprout, Bacon, and Gruyere Quesadillas with Apple Butter
Steamed Shrimp Po Boys with Cajun Vegetable Quinoa
Pulled Pork, Roasted Pear, and Gorgonzola Paninis
Chipotle Chicken, Butternut Squash, and Wild Rice Soup
Asparagus, Mushroom, and Swiss Flatbread Melts
where can I find that kind of ham?
I bought the ham at Costco. I think it’s Kirkland brand pre-cooked boneless ham steaks. They come in a pack of 3 but they they freeze well.
I don’t understand the prep, cook and total time of 18 minutes.
Hi Marlene. Thanks for pointing this out. Prep time is 10 min and cook time is up to 8 hours. I updated the recipe. Sorry for the confusion!
Wow, have tried a few pea and ham recipes, but yours is just like the one my mum used to cook!!! Absolutely perfect!!!!!
I am cooking it again this weekend, my whole family said the best soup they had ever had!!!
Thankyou so much
Carrol – Thank you sooo much for the kind comment! It means so much. I’m so happy this reminds you of the version your mom made as it’s the same for me and my dad!
Made your soup today and after 8 1/2 hours cooked on low, my yellow split peas are still hard and not cooked.
I know my slow cooker works fine, I used it just a few nights ago and it worked fine, cooked dinner in the amount of time recipe called for.
Only difference in my ingredients for your soup, I used yellow split peas, not green ones.
Hi Fran, I’m sorry to hear that! My slow cooker must be off a bit in terms of heat settings because my peas were broken down at the 6 hour mark on low. I will update the recipe to say 6-10 hours to account for all the variances in slow cooker settings/times. Thanks for reporting back!
Great soup, especially with this cold snap in upstate NY. Thanks so much, we love it!!!
That’s so great to hear Bill! Glad you love it! We’re having a cold spell here in Minnesota too. Sending warm thoughts!
So I’m really excited to try this out this week. One question did you soak the beans over night or just put them straight from the package to the pot?
Awesome Lani! I did not soak the peas overnight, but I think it’s definitely something worth doing to ensure your peas are cooked through! It will also speed up the cooking time.
Turned out amazing! So simple and healthy!
That’s great to hear! It’s a classic in our family. And woohoo, we have the same name 🙂
I’m going to try this recipe soon. However, I usually make my own stock from the leftover ham bone instead of using chicken or vegetable stock, and I do this the day before. Just put the bone in a large pot, cover with water, add celery leaves, a quartered onions, a few pieces of carrot, bay leaf, parsley, peppercorns and any seasonings you wish. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 2 hours. Cool and strain. You’d be surprised at the amount of ham you can get off the bone, too! Save this for the soup. Refrigerate the stock overnight, then remove most of the fat on top. Much better than any canned or packaged broth.
I love the idea of making your own stock. Thanks so much for sharing your process! I’m sure it does taste a lot better than the canned stuff!