Slow cooker split pea soup is a delicious and hearty meal that is perfect for cold winter days. This soup is easy to make and can be prepared in advance, making it a great option for busy families. Split pea soup is a classic recipe that has been enjoyed for generations, and the slow cooker makes it even easier to prepare.
One of the great things about slow cooker split pea soup is that it is a healthy and nutritious meal. Split peas are packed with protein, fiber, and other important nutrients, making this soup a great option for those who are looking to eat a balanced diet. Additionally, this soup is low in fat and calories, making it a great option for those who are watching their weight.
Another benefit of slow cooker split pea soup is that it is a versatile recipe that can be customized to suit your tastes. You can add a variety of different vegetables, herbs, and spices to the soup to give it a unique flavor. Some popular additions include carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and thyme. With so many options, it is easy to make a batch of soup that is tailored to your preferences.
History of Split Pea Soup
Split pea soup has been enjoyed for centuries in many different cultures. It is believed to have originated in ancient Greece and Rome, where it was a popular dish among the poor due to its low cost and high nutritional value.
In the Middle Ages, split pea soup became a staple food in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, where it was known as “erwtensoep” or “snert.” It was traditionally made with dried peas, vegetables, and meat, and was often served during the winter months as a hearty and warming meal.
In the 19th century, split pea soup made its way to North America, where it quickly became a popular dish among settlers and pioneers. It was often served on the frontier as a simple and nourishing meal that could be made with minimal ingredients and effort.
Today, split pea soup remains a beloved comfort food around the world. It is often made with a variety of ingredients, including ham, bacon, vegetables, and herbs, and can be served hot or cold depending on the season and personal preference. With the rise of slow cookers and other kitchen appliances, it has become easier than ever to prepare this delicious and nutritious soup at home.
Benefits of Slow Cooking
Slow cooking has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its many benefits. Here are a few reasons why slow cooking is a great option for making Split Pea Soup:
Slow cooking is a gentle cooking method that uses low heat over a long period of time. This helps to retain the nutrients in the ingredients, making the soup more nutritious.
One of the main advantages of slow cooking is that it saves time. Once all the ingredients are added to the slow cooker, the cook can leave the soup to cook for several hours, freeing up time to attend to other tasks.
Slow cooking allows the flavors of the ingredients to meld together, resulting in a deeper, richer flavor. The low and slow cooking process also tenderizes the meat, making it more succulent and delicious.
Slow cooker split pea soup is easy to clean up. Unlike cooking in a pot, there are no pots and pans to scrub, just the slow cooker insert.
Slow cooking is an affordable way to cook. It uses less energy than other cooking methods, and the longer cooking time allows for the use of cheaper cuts of meat, making it a cost-effective option.
Overall, slow cooking is a convenient and healthy way to prepare Split Pea Soup. It saves time, enhances flavor, and retains nutrients, making it a great option for busy families looking for a delicious and nutritious meal.
Choosing the Right Ingredients
When it comes to making Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup, choosing the right ingredients is crucial. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting ingredients for this delicious and hearty soup.
Split Peas Selection
The first ingredient to consider is the split peas. It is important to choose high-quality split peas that are fresh and free from any defects. Split peas come in different colors, including green, yellow, and red. Green split peas are the most commonly used in split pea soup recipes because they have a mild flavor and creamy texture when cooked.
Adding meat to the soup is optional but can add extra flavor and protein. Ham hocks or smoked ham are the most common meats used in split pea soup recipes. The ham hocks add a smoky flavor to the soup, while the ham adds a salty and savory taste. Bacon can also be used as a substitute for ham hocks.
Vegetables and Herbs
Vegetables and herbs are essential ingredients in split pea soup. Carrots, celery, and onions are the most commonly used vegetables. These vegetables add flavor and texture to the soup and are also a good source of nutrients. Herbs such as thyme, bay leaves, and parsley are also used to add flavor and aroma to the soup.
The type of liquid used in the soup can affect the overall taste and texture. Chicken or vegetable broth is commonly used in split pea soup recipes, but water can also be used. Some recipes call for a combination of broth and water to balance the flavor. It is important to use enough liquid to cover the split peas and to add more liquid if needed during cooking.
By choosing the right ingredients, you can make a delicious and nutritious Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup that is perfect for any occasion.
Rinsing and Sorting Peas
Before preparing Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup, it is important to rinse and sort the peas. Rinse the peas under cold running water and sort through them to remove any debris or stones. Split peas do not require soaking before cooking, but rinsing and sorting them is essential to remove any impurities that may affect the taste and texture of the soup.
Preparing the vegetables is an important step in making Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup. Dice the onion, carrots, and celery into small pieces to ensure they cook evenly in the slow cooker. Garlic can be minced or sliced depending on preference. Thyme, parsley, and bay leaves can be tied together with kitchen twine to make it easier to remove them from the soup later.
While ham is a popular choice for Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup, other meats such as smoked turkey or bacon can also be used. If using ham, remove any excess fat and chop it into small pieces. Adding the meat to the slow cooker with the vegetables and peas will infuse the soup with a rich and smoky flavor.
Overall, preparing Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup is a simple and straightforward process. By following these basic preparation steps, anyone can create a delicious and hearty soup that is perfect for any occasion.
Slow Cooker Settings
Slow cooker split pea soup is a popular dish in many households, especially during the colder months. However, it’s important to know how to properly use a slow cooker to achieve the best results.
Cooking times for slow cooker split pea soup can vary depending on the recipe and the size of the slow cooker. Typically, the soup should be cooked on low heat for 8-10 hours or on high heat for 4-5 hours. It’s important not to overcook the soup, as this can cause the peas to become mushy and lose their texture.
Slow cookers usually have two temperature settings: low and high. The low setting is typically used for longer cooking times, while the high setting is used for shorter cooking times. When cooking slow cooker split pea soup, it’s recommended to use the low setting to achieve the best results.
It’s important to note that slow cookers can vary in temperature, even on the same setting. To ensure that the soup is cooking at the right temperature, it’s recommended to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the soup. The soup should reach a temperature of 165°F (74°C) to be safe to eat.
In summary, when making slow cooker split pea soup, it’s important to use the right cooking times and temperature settings to achieve the best results. By following these guidelines, you can create a delicious and hearty soup that’s perfect for any occasion.
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup is an easy and delicious recipe that can be made in a few simple steps. Below are the cooking steps to make this soup.
To start, gather all the necessary ingredients and layer them in the slow cooker in the following order:
- Chopped onion
- Julienned or chopped carrots
- Minced garlic cloves
- Crushed dried rosemary
- Crushed dried thyme
- Dried split green peas
After layering the ingredients, add the following liquids to the slow cooker:
- Reduced-sodium chicken broth
The liquid should cover all the ingredients by about ½-inch. If using a ham bone, it’s okay if it sticks out a little.
Setting the Cooker
Once all the ingredients and liquids are added, cover the slow cooker and set it to cook on low heat for 8-10 hours. The soup is done when the peas are tender.
After the cooking time is up, remove the ham bone (if used) and any excess fat. If desired, use an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a blender to puree until smooth. Serve hot with crusty bread or crackers.
Overall, Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup is an easy and flavorful recipe that can be made with minimal effort. By following these simple cooking steps, anyone can make a delicious and comforting bowl of soup.
Slow cooker split pea soup is a hearty and filling dish that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of accompaniments. Here are a few suggestions to elevate your soup experience:
- Bread: Serve with a crusty bread such as baguette or sourdough to soak up the delicious soup.
- Crackers: Add a crunch to your soup by serving with crackers such as saltines or oyster crackers.
- Salad: Pair with a light salad such as a mixed greens salad with a vinaigrette dressing for a refreshing contrast to the rich soup.
Garnishing your slow cooker split pea soup can add an extra layer of flavor and visual appeal. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Croutons: Top your soup with homemade or store-bought croutons for added texture and flavor.
- Bacon Bits: Sprinkle bacon bits on top of your soup for a salty and savory garnish.
- Fresh Herbs: Add a pop of color and freshness by garnishing your soup with fresh herbs such as parsley or thyme.
Experiment with different accompaniments and garnishes to find your perfect pairing. With its rich and comforting flavors, slow cooker split pea soup is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I adapt a traditional split pea soup recipe for a vegetarian slow cooker version?
To make a vegetarian version of split pea soup, simply omit the ham or bacon and replace it with vegetable broth. You can also add extra vegetables such as carrots, celery, and potatoes to make it more filling. Here is a recipe to get you started.
What’s the secret to making the best-tasting slow cooker split pea soup?
The secret to making the best-tasting slow cooker split pea soup is to use high-quality split peas and fresh vegetables. You should also add a ham bone or bacon to enhance the flavor. Be sure to season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Can I cook split pea soup with a ham bone in a slow cooker, and how does it enhance the flavor?
Yes, cooking split pea soup with a ham bone in a slow cooker can enhance the flavor. The ham bone adds a smoky, savory flavor to the soup. Be sure to remove the ham bone before serving the soup.
What are the steps to ensure split peas become soft during slow cooking?
To ensure that split peas become soft during slow cooking, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before cooking. You can also soak them overnight if you prefer. Be sure to add enough liquid to the slow cooker and cook the soup on low for at least 8 hours.
Is it necessary to soak split peas before cooking them in a slow cooker?
Soaking split peas before cooking them in a slow cooker is not necessary, but it can help to shorten the cooking time. If you do decide to soak them, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before cooking.
How can I incorporate potatoes into my slow cooker split pea and ham soup?
To incorporate potatoes into your slow cooker split pea and ham soup, simply add diced potatoes to the slow cooker along with the other ingredients. Be sure to season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Here is a recipe that includes potatoes.