If country ham is a bit too salty for you sliced straight up on your breakfast plate, it can be a delicious addition to add flavor and depth to all kinds of recipes. Ham and ham hocks give this slow-cooker split pea soup its full-bodied texture and turn the soup into a balanced meal in itself.
I make my own chicken stock, and do it easily and on the cheap by keeping a heavy-duty ziploc in the freezer to collect scraps from projects like this and others. When a bag gets full, I dump it all into a large stock pot with chicken bones, fill to cover with water and let it bubble away a couple hours. I’m careful to label reasonably usable portion the resulting stock into ziplocs and recycled plastic containers. One of my favorite portions is a 1/4c ice cube tray. Once frozen, move cubes to a labeled ziploc and use these smaller portions to add homemade flavor to weeknight steamed veggies.
Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup
10 cups low-sodium chicken broth, preferably homemade, or I like Swanson’s
2 pounds dried green split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained
Your favorite flavor veggies, diced small (Consider a combo of your favorites! I like 1 medium onion, 4 small carrots, 2 celery stalks and a red bell pepper)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed, or even just tossed in whole, do not substitute garlic powder or salt (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled)
2 dried bay leaves
2-3 small ham hocks
Coarse salt and ground pepper
In a medium pot, bring broth to a boil, then carefully pour into a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients; season with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on high until split peas are creamy, 6 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove ham hocks from pot. Discard skin and bones; dice meat. Discard bay leaves. Lightly mash peas with the back of a wooden spoon. Return ham to soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Depending on your hocks, you might like to supplement the soup with more meat from a diced ham steak
This soup will thicken up considerably in the refrigerator, to reheat add as much water as desired and simmer over low. I love to add turnip greens to this soup, especially the leftovers to add more texture, fiber, vitamins and flavor!
We’re pretty sure even Sam-I-am would like this soup.
You can buy our city or country ham here: