Thistle Bear’s Pea Soup


(from kylerhea’s recipe box)

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This particular night, we had crusty sourdough bread with our soup. But I also love to serve pea soup with corn bread. Something about the sweet-sour flavor of the cornmeal works really well with the smoky ham and starchy peas.

Source: thistlebear

Categories: November2013, PGC, crockpot, peas, slow cooker, soup


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 pound of dried green split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 8 cups chicken broth (or appropriate water and bouillon)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1-2 cups chopped cooked ham*
  • Salt and pepper
  • Liquid smoke, if desired
  • *When I have a ham bone, I simmer the whole bone in the pot as it cooks, then remove it to take off any meat and put the meat back into the pot about an hour before serving, discarding the bone.


  1. 1 – I start this slow-cooker soup the same way I do my others: by sauteing my vegetables in a skillet on the stovetop with a little olive oil. I find this imparts a much richer flavor to the soup than if I put raw vegetables in the slow-cooker with the other ingredients. This is not a necessary step, however; I prefer to do it, but if you’re in a hurry, it’s fine to start with raw veggies in your slow-cooker.

  2. 2 – While the veggies are sauteing, you can prepare your slow-cooker liner. I like to spray mine with Pam no matter what I am cooking, just in case of sticking. I find that peas can be a bit sticky as they cook, probably because they contain a lot of starch. After spraying, place your dried (rinsed, sorted) peas in the liner.

  3. 3 -

  4. The peas are just so pretty. I love the varied shades of green in them.

  5. When the veggies are ready, place them in the slow-cooker with the peas and begin adding the next ingredients, through the bay leaves and thyme. Give it a good stir to ensure that the peas are mixed in; if they sit on the bottom of the pot, they tend to become a large, pasty clump.

  6. 4 – Place the lid on and leave the slow-cooker to do its magic. I cook this soup on the HIGH setting for the first 2-3 hours, then I turn it down to LOW for another 4-5 hours. I find this helps the peas cook more thoroughly. Pea soup with still-crunchy dried peas is not good eating. Trust me.

  7. Keep in mind that I have an older, base-model slow-cooker (like this one, only mine is so archaic as to have been made before they added the “Warm” setting), so you may have to experiment to see which temperatures and times work best with your own individual slow-cooker.

  8. About an hour before serving time, I will add my reserved chopped cooked ham. I usually do this in a medium dice; I like having real bites of meat in the soup, as opposed to shreds. And if the ham is already very tender, it can fall apart more easily in the boiling soup. But it still tastes good, so chop to your own preference.

  9. 5 -

  10. See my note above for variation with a ham bone; you would want to allow some time for the ham bone to cool off before handling it to remove the meat. I also find that a cooler ham bone sometimes gives up its meat a little more easily, though the meat is often very loose either way.

  11. If you like fat in the soup, feel free to add fat, either off the bone or from your cut-up meat scraps. I usually let a little bit get back into the soup. It will melt into the broth. I think it’s delicious. Give the soup a good stirring to make sure there’s no pea paste developing on the bottom (the peas tend to settle out of the broth as they cook).

  12. At this point, you should also taste the soup for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired. You can also add liquid smoke at this point if you feel your soup needs it; occasionally I will use some. I don’t really measure it; the brand I use has a “shaker” lid on the bottle, with holes cut out. I usually find that two “shakes” imparts plenty of smoky flavor. With liquid smoke, you could feasibly make this a meatless soup, but I don’t feel there’s quite enough richness of flavor without some meat.

  13. After the soup has simmered about an hour with the meat in it, it’s time to eat. Stir well before serving, to reincorporate the peas as before, and serve.

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