I've noticed I don't see a lot of split pea soup featured on blogsites. It's probably because it's not fancy enough and is considered kind of pedestrian. But have you ever noticed that whenever you go anywhere that serves a variety of soups (like the supermarket) that the pot containing the split pea soup is always EMPTY? Ever noticed that? What does that tell ya?
So this weekend it was gray, rainy, windy and chilly. And all I wanted was some split pea soup and cornbread. So I made some. Here's my take on it:
1 15 oz bag split peas (green or yellow or both) rinsed, soaked overnight, and picked over
4 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
4 cloves of garlic diced
2 carrots peeled and sliced thinly
2 leeks washed and sliced thinly, white and light green parts only
2 celery stalks washed and sliced thinly
2 smoked ham hocks
32 oz Chicken broth
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground pepper
Pour rinsed split peas into crockpot.
Saute onion, garlic, leeks, carrots, and celery in oil until the onion begins to soften and turn translucent.
Add two ham hocks to crockpot along with bay leaves, salt and pepper and thyme. Add sauteed vegetables.
Pour chicken broth over the contents of the crockpot.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, turn to medium and cook another 8 hours until peas are fully cooked and break down when stirred. I recommend NOT using a submersible blender as you want the carrots and celery and leeks to remain somewhat intact.
Remove ham hocks from the soup and discard. (Some folks recommend cutting meat off the ham hock and adding to the soup, but I rarely find much meat in a ham hock so I just discard. As a variation, I sometimes add sliced kielbasa or cubed ham to the soup during the last hour of cooking.)
Important: Degrease soup by skimming the top layer of oil/grease and discarding.
If soup is too thick when done, or when serving later just add water and mix well.
Serve and garnish with a bit of sour cream and/or croutons and parsley.