French Canadian Split Pea Soup with Ham

Time: 4 hours on stove; 4 hours on high in crockpot; 8 hours on low in crockpot

My dad was visiting the other day and was gushing about the amazing split pea soup my mom made from scratch using a smoked ham hock… he made me think I should make some, too. Split Pea Soup, made with yellow split peas, is a traditional soup for French-Canadians. Having lived in a largely french populated town, we had the good fortune of eating many delicious meals with our francophone friends. Some of my best school memories were the ones where we made and ate delicious meals like: coq au vin; boeuf bourguignon; crepes; tarte au sucre; or la tire sur la neige (pulled maple taffy on snow). I hope you enjoy this soup and the folksy french music!

Music Selection: De Temps Antan – Dans La Memoire Longtemps

Ingredients:

1 ham bone or ham hocks with meat on it (add about 1 cup diced ham if no ham on the bones) ** see alternative below

8 cups water **see alternative below

2 tsp Salt

1 tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

2 cups onion, chopped fine

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrot

1 cup chopped potato, in diced pieces

1 ½ cups split peas (it is common for French – Canadians to use yellow split peas, but green split peas or a mix of both can be used)

Optional: 1 tsp dried thyme

Alternative tip: If you don’t have the time to make the broth – use 4 cups of chicken stock instead of boiling the ham bone in 8 cups of water. Then just add in a cup of cubed ham.

Directions:

In large pot, place ham bone, water, salt, pepper, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 2 hours. If using a crockpot – place all ingredients for the soup in the crockpot and turn on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

After two hours in the pot, add the celery, onion, carrot, split peas and potato. Cover and let cook for another two hours (you want the peas to have fallen apart).

For either pot or crockpot, when the above times are reached, take bone out and bay leaf, let cool, and remove meat. Dice the meat and return to the soup. Mix it well as the peas will settle and get thick.

Serve with quick cheesy dill bread or a good loaf of sourdough with butter.

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