Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup - Love it or Hate it?

Ham is always the main side dish to whatever my family is having on Thanksgiving or Christmas. There's always a turkey on T-day and usually a side ham. If my mom cooks prime rib for Christmas, there's usually a ham on the side. (It's like we can't quite fully commit to the ham.) And the leftover ham usually ends up in my dad's post-holiday split pea soup.

No really, how do you photograph split pea soup to make it look good? Where's Emily when I need her?
I LOVE split pea soup! Its salty, yummy greanness coats my mouth with perfection as I drink it in. And I love the little surprises that emerge from the green goo - "Doh, there's a carrot!" But I know every third person who reads this is upchucking a little bit at that description because split pea soup is a curse on food and should only be fed to prisoners serving a life sentence.

Nonetheless, I'm taking a risk today and posting a recipe I did for slow cooker split pea soup in honor of the season of ham; my dad, who passed down to me a taste for the green stuff, and because it's too damn easy not to make during such a frenzied, busy holiday season.

I have one confession: I made this particular split pea with bacon because a) everything's better with bacon and b) I'm still waiting to have my Christmas ham. So round two will be coming later this month...

Enjoy! (or vomit, whatever.)

Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup
My best guess for measurements:

6.5 cups water/chicken stock (I used about half water/half stock)
1 (16 ounce) package dried split peas
1 teaspoon salt (but I ended up salting and peppering more later on)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large red potatoes, cut up
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
Leftover ham chunks or cooked bacon

Mix all ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat 8 to 10 hrs or on high heat 6 to 7 hours until peas are tender. Stir well before serving. Kelly's profound feedback was that "It needs a roll." I hate it when he's right...so don't forget (like I did) to serve it up with something bready and carby-good like focaccia.

Note: It's really hard to mess up split pea soup. There are two main things that could go wrong: liquid amount and over-salting. I like split pea soup thick and chunky (more like stewp) so instead of using 8 cups liquid like the original recipe suggested, I cut it back. I also like it pretty salty but the key is to start with your base salt and taste test as the peas break down. Stir, taste, salt. Repeat if needed. Done.

Mmm chunky...
Proof the toddler tried it and liked it, although his sinuses are plugged right now so this is debatable.


  1. Missy - you are starting off year 2 with a bang! This post is hilarious! I wish I could insert a photo of my face when I read the title - my first reaction was to hate on this recipe. BUT THEN - I saw your pics, and your description of a less than soupy soup, and I was sold! (Stewp is my new favorite word - I laughed out loud at this!) the chunks of potato and carrot... yum! Perfect for a cold/rainy day! (which we don't get much here - but still!) Would it be crazy to throw lentils into the mix? Or would that make it too thick?

  2. Good question about the lentils. I like lentil soup too so it may be worth a go. You can also add corn for a crunch. And ham (versus bacon) will make it chunkier too. Lots of chunk! Like a chunky chowder stewp! Haha!

  3. Wow. Looks good, actually. And you made me laugh out loud. Love this post!!! I will defintiely be trying this one.

  4. I'm a split pea soup lover! Love the idea of doing it in a crock pot and very cool to have yet another toddler approved recipe. I'll have to make sure to sneak home some leftover ham from Christmas dinner!

  5. Mmm, not sure. Ham and green sludge aren't high on my list but I do like how easy it is and the bacon substitution.

  6. I am a huge fan of split pea soup. I think it's incredibly satisfying. Of course, nobody else in my family agrees but I usually make myself a half pot every month or so. Yum!

  7. Ha ha! This post is hilarious. Really, the words upchucking and vomit shouldn't be in the same post as Split Pea and Ham (or Bacon) Soup! One of my favorites! And it's pretty healthy- full of fiber, protein, and iron. Will and I made some this winter and it was sooo good but it was a time consuming version, so I need to try making it in the slow cooker! Then I'd make it more often if it's quick. Oh I love carrots and red potatoes in it too. Yummy!