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Split Pea Soup

Everyone needs a good, classic split pea soup recipe for those long chilly, rainy days of winter. This soup is packed full of fresh vegetables and smoky ham for a combination that is sure to win your whole family over! This is sure to be your new favorite comfort food!
Course Main Course, Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow or sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound green split peas, rinsed
  • 2 smoked ham shanks, smoked ham hocks, or about 1 pound ham, **See notes
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped

Instructions

  • In a frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until softened, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the sautéed onion and garlic to the crockpot or instant pot, along with the carrots, celery, dried thyme, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
  • Rinse the split peas thoroughly and then add to the crockpot. Stir the soup to combine all the ingredients.
  • Add the smoked ham shanks, ham hocks, or ham to the slow cooker. If you are using ham shanks or ham hocks, make sure they are completely covered by the soup.
  • Cover and cook on high-heat for 4-5 hours or low-heat for 8-10 hours. The peas should be very tender when the soup is done.

To Finish the Soup:

  • Transfer the ham shank (or ham hock) to a cutting board, and let cool for 10 minutes. Using a knife or fork, remove as much meat from the bones as you can. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Return the meat back to the soup along with the chopped parsley, stir.

Notes

For the meat, you can use smoked ham shanks, smoked ham hocks, or regular ham. I have used all three and they all make for a delicious tasting soup!
  • Smoked ham shanks: This is my favorite meat to use. The shanks are smoked, which give the soup a rich, smoky flavor. There is usually quite a bit of meat on the shanks, which I cut off and add to the soup after it has cooked for 8 hours.
  • Smoked ham hocks: This lends the same rich, smoky flavor as the ham shanks, but it can be a hit or miss on whether there is enough meat on the bones. More times than not, I get very little meat from the shanks. So you'll still get the delicious smoky flavor, just not much meat.
  • Ham: This is always a winning choice - a great way to use up leftover ham! The only downside to using ham, is that you won't get the smoky flavor that you would with the shank or the hock. But trust me, you will still have a very delicious soup! If you use ham, cut it into bite-size pieces and add it to the soup at the beginning of the cooking process, allowing for all the flavors to meld together as the soup cooks.

Cooking Times:
For a standard crockpot or slow cooker, cook for 4 hours on high heat or 8 hours on low heat. For an instant pot, the low heat setting just doesn't cook at a high enough temperature, and the vegetables don't always get tender enough. So, I set the instant pot to high heat and cook for at least 8 hours. Also with the instant pot, I remove the lid for the last hour and let some of the moisture evaporate as it finishes cooking, so the soup is less watery.