1 pound split peas
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced very thin, I use the slicing side of my grater
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water (or 8 cups stock)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes according to taste (I use 1/2)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme
1 or 2 good meaty smoked ham hocks (or left over ham cut into chunks)
1.Rinse and sort split peas. Discard bad peas. Plop into the slow cooker.
2. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes just to get them started.
3. Add onions, garlic and all remaining ingredients to slow cooker.
4. Cook on high for about 6 hours or low 8 or more hours.
5. Remove hocks from soup onto a plate and let cool enough to handle.
6. Pick meat off hocks, break into bite sized pieces and return to soup.
7. Salt to taste and serve.
I also make this on the stove top or in the oven. It is easy by any method.
You can use any kind of smoked pork in this soup. Hocks are just perfect, but ham works well also. You want about 1 lb of meat after bones are discarded.
Because the saltiness of ham or smoked meat is such a variable, I never add salt to this soup until it is finished and I taste it.
I've started adding pureed kale to my soups, stews and casseroles in order to boost nutrition. It works perfectly in this soup. I just puree the fresh, raw kale in my food processor and add about 1 cup along with all the other ingredients. It cooks down into tiny chunks of green that look like herbs flecks.