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Ham is a tradition in our house on Easter. This year it was this Maple Glazed Spiral Ham, yum!
Over the years, I’ve come to discover a couple of mighty fine ways to put the bone from my Easter ham to use in the days following the holiday. Baked Beans from Scratch are at the top of that list and now this soup, thanks to my sis, Marj.
She has lots of good ideas and this is one of them. Love ya, sis.
I’m so drawn to the idea of making use of the entire ham, including the bone. There’s just something old-timey about it.
You know that our Grandmas would have never considered throwing that beautiful, meaty ham bone in the trash so why should we? These recipes that involve the leftovers can become as traditional in your home as the holiday meal they stem from.
It all starts with a 16 ounce bag of green split peas. Split peas have all kinds of wonderful qualities that are so fabulous that we need to talk about them for a minute before we make soup.
First, they are rich in soluable fiber which, in addition to helping to keep our cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check, also helps to make us feel full and satiated for a good long time.
It’s a stick to your ribs kind of food. They’re also high in protein and low in fat. And, they’re tasty to boot!
Give them a good rinse and pick through them to be sure there are no small pebbles or debris before you transfer them to your slow cooker.
Just like dried beans, split peas require a slow, long cooking time in order to become tender enough to consume. This is why the slow cooker method is far and away the best method for preparing Split Pea Soup.
The dry peas will break down and transform in front of your eyes into a beautiful, thick and creamy soup over the course of the cooking time. The longer you let them go, the creamier your soup will be.
And, this my friends, is a good thing.
Transfer the rinsed and drained split peas to your slow cooker and layer on the veggies – chopped carrot, celery, onion, and minced garlic.
Bring on the herbs – chopped fresh Italian parsley and thyme. Season with one teaspoon of salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.
Toss in a bay leaf and tuck that meaty leftover ham bone down into the mixture.
You can see I didn’t work too hard to trim the meat from the bone. This meat will be a lovely addition to the finished soup.
Add about 4 to 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth.
You only need to add enough broth at this point to cover the split peas and veggies. Reserve the remaining broth to be added towards the end of the cooking time, if needed.
Place the cover on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
Now and then throughout the cooking time, give it a stir and add a little chicken broth if you feel it’s needed. If you’ll be gone for the day, just stir it well before you leave and it will be fine in your absence.
Let it cook until the peas have softened to your liking and the soup has a nice, creamy consistency. Remove and discard the bay leaf and remove the ham bone. Tear off any remaining meat and return it to the slow cooker.
This is one wholesome and delicious pot of soup! It freezes and reheats exceptionally well – see the printable recipe below for all the details.
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
- 16 ounce bag green split peas, rinsed well and drained
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped small
- 2 ribs celery chopped small
- 1/2 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt plus additional as needed
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 meaty ham bone
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or more, as needed, divided
- Layer the ingredients, through the ham bone, in a slow cooker in the order listed. Add about 4 to 5 cups of chicken broth, just enough to cover ingredients. Reserve remaining chicken broth for later. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours.
- Stir occasionally during cooking time. When peas are tender, remove ham bone to a cutting board. Pull off tear the ham into small pieces and return it to the slow cooker. Discard ham bone and bay leaf. Use a spoon to lightly mash some of the peas against the side of the slow cooker and stir until nice and creamy, adding more broth, if needed, to reach desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.
- This soup freezes exceptionally well. Freeze cooled soup in freezer containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat in microwave or in a saucepan on the stove. When reheating, thin with a little water or chicken broth, if desired.
The total cooking time and heat level have been adjusted since this recipe was originally published based on reader feedback. All slow cookers can vary so please watch and adjust cooking time as necessary for your appliance.