When faced recently with the promise of a long day without food, what was the Accidental Locavore to do? Why, cook, of course! Come on, you know it beats staring longingly at the Food Network. Before checking into the hospital (to have work done on my hand) I decided to put a batch of split pea soup in the slow cooker, that way it would be there waiting for me. Added bonus, my apartment would smell wonderful! There were some beautiful smoked ham hocks I had brought back from Maine, so they went in with the usual carrot, celery and split pea suspects. The other benefit of using the slow cooker for this was that you could just dump everything in and leave it to work its magic. This made a lot of soup, and like a lot of things slowly cooked, was better the next day.
- 1 pound dried split peas
- 1 good sized carrot, diced (if you're a carrot & celery fan, feel free to add a couple more)
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- 2 smoked ham hocks
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock (you can use any kind of stock, or even just water or a combo)
- Salt (go easy, the ham may be plenty salty) and pepper, to taste
Put all ingredients in a large slow cooker, in the order listed. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours, until the peas are tender and the ham falls off the bone. When the soup has cooked, remove the ham hocks, shred the meat and add it back to the pot (toss the bones). Stir to mix well, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: What I forgot, was that I wouldn't have the use of my left hand so when the Locavore got home, although the soup was smelling delicious, there was no way of one-handedly shredding steamy ham hocks! I let the soup cool overnight and very awkwardly worked on it the next morning. The soup was very good. I'm not a big fan of celery and carrots, so I only used one of each (for concept). Although the recipe said you didn't have to soak the peas the night before, it would probably have been a good idea. What I might do the next time, would be to toss the split peas and the chicken stock in the slow cooker the night before, just to let them soak, then add everything else the next morning and cook. Having really good ham hocks made it taste the way I like split pea soup, smoky and meaty.
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