I use my Crockpot a lot, in the summer, when it is too hot to cook indoors, and homemade soup works perfectly to provide that "light dinner" you are looking for.

This is a great classic recipe for split pea soup; it is  quick, easy, packed with flavor and one of our favorite soups.

1/2 pound smoked ham, cubed
1 cup onion chopped (I like Vidalia or sweet onions)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 pound dried split peas (rinsed)
2 quarts chicken stock*
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped small
2 teaspoons salt (see important note below)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cream (or half and half)

In a large stock pot, saute onion, celery and carrots together in a tablespoon of vegetable oil for a few minutes (they don't have to be cooked all the way just makes the veggies a little sweeter).

Add the split peas, chicken stock, potatoes, ham, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer slowly (covered) for about an hour or until the peas are very soft (stir occasionally).

Now you have to process the soup in a food processor or blender (stick blenders don't work very well for this for some reason), so work in small batches, processing the soup until very smooth and thick.

Return the soup to the stock pot and add the cream (or half and half). Stir well and slowly reheat , but don't boil.  

When you serve it, top it with some crisp fried bacon (optional). I like to decorate each bowl with a rolled up slice of bacon (looks like a "bacon rose")

A NOTE ABOUT THE SALT: Do not automatically add the 2 teaspoons of salt before you consider the following:  If you are using home made chicken stock that has not been salted, go ahead and use the 2 teaspoons of salt.

If you are using a soup base, like McCormicks soup base (a fantastic product), remember, it has salt in it (but not as much salt as bullion).

If you use this, I would use only 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt.  If you are using regular bullion, leave the salt out all together and taste the soup just before serving to check for salt content.


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