Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

by Cate on April 27, 2009

The perfect food when frigid temperatures take over your weather pattern, this super simple Split Pea Soup will warm you up from the inside out.


To say I’m a walking zombie at this point would be a gross understatement. As soon as I formulate a few sentences here, I’m off to go count the Serta sheep. I haven’t slept since Saturday night and that ceased being fun … oh … right around Saturday night. Madeline woke up at 11:30 last night with her fever back and she couldn’t go back to sleep. By 2 am, it was up to 104 and she capped it off by throwing up all over me. I swear I didn’t know what to do first at that point and seriously just sat for a few minutes to figure out my next course of action. Someone needs to pen a manual about such things. After getting us reasonably cleaned up, back to the ER we went to spend the rest of the night there. We got home just as the sun was coming up and I celebrated by stripping my bed and going off in search of clothes that didn’t reek.

Turns out that the allergies, teeth coming in and virus just weren’t enough. Someone thought we should throw in a raging ear infection just for good measure. She r-e-a-l-l-y needs a break at this point. She spent most of the day sleeping and I’m hoping she was just sleeping off all the nasty cooties that are taking up residence. She woke up long enough to eat, get medicine and accompany me in a search for the one brand of teething drops that relieve her pain.

The house is now quiet again and both kids are sleeping. I am really hoping we can skip the ER visit tonight. Especially given the horrid bedside manner of the lovely nurse we had the pleasure of dealing with last night (seriously, what is WRONG with people?  I’m certain there must be a bedside manner segment on the road to becoming a nurse, and someone sure needs a refresher). But hopefully for Madeline the worst is over.

Now onto split pea soup. Luckily I wrote this last week so as soon as I click “publish,” my head is meeting the pillow… here we go.

It’s strange how there are certain things that we order in restaurants, yet never make at home.  Either it’s too hard, or we think it’s too hard, or too time consuming, or you-fill-in-the-blank.  For me, Split Pea Soup is one of those things.  I love Split Pea Soup, but it’s usually something that I only eat when we visit diners.  Since I’m the only one who likes it here, I’ve never made it at home … until last week.  I spied a recipe for a crockpot version of Split Pea Soup on a finance website of all places (because it’s a very penny-conscious recipe).

In the coming months, I will definitely be using the crockpot a lot more.  When we bought this house, the living room and the kitchen were connected by French doors.  We removed the doors and walled that up, which gave us another full wall in the kitchen to add cabinets and countertops.  While it was still a good idea and I stand by it, it dramatically cut the air flow in the kitchen, and once the weather gets warm, the kitchen quickly becomes a sweatbox.  Today as the temperatures hovered around the mid-80s, I instantly remembered how dreadful the kitchen was last summer.  The ceiling fan we added just laughs maniacally as it swirls the hot air around and around and around.

So back to the soup … When Nick was home on Spring Break recently, together with the babysitter’s help, they tackled the Split Pea Soup recipe, loading everything into the crockpot around lunchtime.  Well, except for the celery that I crossed off the list before they got started.  I’ve got this thing against warm, mushy celery … no thank you!  Within an hour or two, the soup already smelled amazing and I couldn’t resist taking a peek or two in the afternoon.  But each time I looked, especially as it got closer to the end time for the recipe, I grew a little more worried.  I totally thought I had another dud on my hands.  Serves me right for getting a recipe from a money site, right?

It certainly smelled good, but it didn’t look anything like Split Pea Soup.  The water was still clear, and Split Pea Soup should be anything but clear.  But then, in the very last hour (I let it go the full seven hours on high), magic happened.  When the babysitter saw it the next day, she asked if I had to mush up the peas or do anything else to it.  Nope.  It did it all by itself.  Pure magic.

Creamy and thick but not decidely not gunky.  Slightly flavored from the ham and downright stick-to-your-ribs, tummy-warming good.  Whether you happen to have a hambone lying around or not, this is one to make.  With everyone watching every penny these days, this is perfect for the budget conscious times we’re in, and with the warm weather fast approaching, this slow cooker recipe will keep your kitchen nice and cool.

I tried to get Nick to try it, but no dice.  The recipe made enough for three lunches for me, a dinner for a neighbor and her husband, the babysitter’s lunch the next day and an appetizer portion for my parents (mom donated the hambone!) – not bad for about $4 worth of ingredients!

Spoons up … dig in!

P.S.  My mom thought it was a little too thick, but I liked it the way it was.  If you think it’s too thick for your own personal preference, it could definitely be thinned out easily enough by adding a little liquid (water, chicken broth, milk, cream, etc.)

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
Recipe #83008, courtesy of Recipe Zaar

  • 7 cups water
  • 1 (16 ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed and sorted (2-1/4 Cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices (1-1/2 Cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped (1 Cup) (I skipped)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 ham bone or 2 lbs ham shanks or smoked pork hocks

Mix all ingredients except ham in 5 qt slow cooker, then add ham.  Cover and cook on low heat 8 to 10 hrs or on high heat 6 to 7 hours until peas are tender Remove ham from cooker; place on cutting board.  Pull meat from bones, using 2 forks; discard bones and skin.  Stir ham into soup.  Stir well before serving.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire April 27, 2009 at 11:25 pm

It’s a good thing you wrote this last week…I can’t imagine writing about split pea soup after having been thrown up on! I hope those meds get Maddie’s ear all better. So sorry you’re having to deal with such fun stuff. I’m also sorry that the nurse was rude to you. Sometimes people just don’t know how to deal with other people…or don’t know how to be an actress. By the time 4am comes on the night shift, you are just ready to be home in bed but you should still be able to put on a happy face and pretend to be happy to be up at that hour (just like the poor Mama and baby who are in the ER!). I hope that you don’t have to go back but that if you do you have a better experience. I’d be nice to you if I was your doctor! :-)

Claires last blog post..Wwwwwwhat’s Up Doc!?


Debbie April 28, 2009 at 8:13 am

I love split pea soup and always look for new recipes for my slow cooker. I will try this. Hope your daughter starts feeling better. I work in a hospital and there’s no reason for a nurse to be unpleasant to you. I’d report it….no excuse for that….

Debbies last blog post..Shrimp Scampi


Cathy April 28, 2009 at 8:57 am

Hope Madeline feels better! I sympathize on the horrid bedside manner – I got to spend the day in emergency with my husband yesterday. After being taken in by an ambulance, it took me 2 hours just to get into see him…and the nurse told me just to suck it up and wait….really???? It’s not your friggin husband sweetheart. Anyhow, soup looks great. I chowed down on cold pizza last night – not even worth blogging about.

Cathys last blog post..Isn’t it spring??


Sarah Caron April 28, 2009 at 9:35 am

Poor baby. Prayers that she makes a speedy recovery. She will be better soon.

Mmm. I love split pea soup!

Sarah Carons last blog post..Fabulous Asiago Pepper Steak Fries


Erik April 28, 2009 at 11:11 am

I love split pea soup! I learned to make this shortly after a friend brought us 400 pounds of split peas that were left on a loading dock…and I got a lot of practice! Some of the peas went to the chickens and pigs, but there was lots that was more than good enough for soup.
I have used bacon, pork hocks (smoked and not), but I totally agree with you that ham bone is simply the best flavoring agent for split pea soup. I also skip the celery, but usually include rosemary for the extra flavor.

Eriks last blog post..Feb 10, Homemade Soup Recipes – My Best Chicken Soup Recipe


Patsy April 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Hope she’s starting to feel better now! I agree, it’s a good thing you wrote this one last week… split pea soup and recently being thrown up on… not a good combination!

Patsys last blog post..Milk & Cookie’s Double Chocolate Cookies & Lynda’s Recipe Box


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