Friday, February 25, 2011

Crock pot split pea soup

Green split pea soup is so delicious, filling, very economical, and naturally thickens itself!

I buy a shank ham with bone, cook it up, then save the bone with some meat still on, to use in the soup.

I have tried fat back, salt pork, bacon, and ham bone.  Not all at the same time!

The winner hands down, no comparison, is the ham bone.  The bone has marrow inside it and that flavors the soup like nothing else.

Also, I have tried cooking on stove top, and crock pot.

Again, the best is the crock pot.

I use really good quality chicken/vegetable stock (Better than Bouillon), 2 bags of the green split peas, 4 sliced carrots, 1/4 cup diced onions, water, and salt and pepper.  I cook in the crock pot on high for 5 or 6 hours.
The good thing is that you cannot over cook the soup.  The ham bone is high in salt, so be careful of the amount of salt you add.
Always use fresh ground black pepper.  As soon as the whole peppercorns are crushed, they release the wonderful fresh pepper aroma.  When you use already ground pepper, you have to use twice as much because who knows how long ago it was ground.  They even sell whole peppercorns in a ready to use grinder, in case you don't own your own.  And if you don't, please invest a small amount of money and buy one!

Remove the ham bone, skim fat off the top, and adjust seasonings.  I like to mash the soup with a potato masher, so it becomes more creamy. Like I said at the beginning, the split peas are a natural thickener, so you don't need to add any cornstarch or roux.

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