Making a pot of split-pea soup

Split pea soup was something that appeared in early January on the table when I was growing up. Made from the ham bone and a few chopped slices from Christmas dinner, my mother put it in a pot and boiled it and added yellow split peas to it, along with a few other ingredients. She switched to using smoked ham hocks at some point.

I never asked her for her recipe! I should do that some time, and compare with mine.

I started by using smoked ham hocks, but decided to switch to something leaner when I saw it in the deli case at the grocery store: smoked turkey drumsticks. That later morphed into using smoked turkey thigh instead — less like petrified dinosaur!

Today’s pea soup is the first time I’ve attempted making it in the slow cooker. I think it’s a perfect food for the machine, because nothing is more heartbreaking than burning the bottom of the pot over the burner because I forgot to stir it.

Today’s soup has the following ingredients:


  • 1 smoked turkey thigh, approximately 1kg, torn into 3 pieces
  • 900 grams of split yellow peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 big chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pinch coarse sea salt (be gentle with the salt: the smoked meat is salty)
  • half-dozen whole peppercorns
  • 30 grinds of my pepper mill
  • about a dozen crimini mushrooms that were getting a bit too shrivelled to use in a salad, chopped fine. (not something I usually do, but what the heck, I like the umami that mushrooms contribute to a dish).
  • 2-1/2 litres of water.

I put all the ingredients in the largest insert for my slow cooker at 3, with the peas at bottom, followed by the meat, followed by everything else, then poured the water over the top.

At 5:30, 2:30 hours after beginning, I pulled the three pieces of meat out and cubed it, and returned the meat and the bone to the pot. Took a sip of the liquid: it tastes like smoky turkey, so that’s a good thing.

By 8pm, it should be ready to eat.

I stole the basics fromĀ this recipe, and then faked it my own way (and I was out of celery).

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About pat

Photographer and writer. I love taking pictures of food that make it look irresistible. Prime interests is field-to-table food, closely followed by gardening and urban nature.

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