Thick as fog yet pure as rain, this soup deserves an accompaniment of homemade corn bread or biscuits.
2 ham hocks (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
1 pound green split peas
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
2 large celery stalks, chopped (2 cups)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 32-ounce cans chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
How to Make It
Rinse the ham hocks. Place them in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, along with the peas, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Using tongs, remove the ham hocks. When they're cool enough to handle, pick off the meat and discard the skin and bones. Chop the meat into small pieces, return it to the soup, and stir.
*A ham bone from a roast or 1/2 pound of cooked smoky bacon can be substituted; however, the soup will then require up to 1 tablespoon of salt. Add it 1/2 teaspoon at a time, tasting after each addition.