A food snob and a crock pot. The BEST split pea soup evvvvaaaa!

I have a love hate relationship with crockpots.  Mostly hate I would say.  I never even knew what a crockpot was until I was registering for my wedding shower 8 years ago.  I didn’t put one on my registry, but I did end up buying one a few years ago to see what it was all about.  It just wasn’t the kind of food I was used to eating.  I grew up in a very Italian family.  Nothing was ever super quick and easy it seemed like.  Most of the women stayed at home and were able to make homemade meals every night.  Dinner always consisted of a pasta dish to start, meat, potato or rice, vegetable, salad and of course BREAD.  I’ll never forget this one time I went to a girlfriends house for dinner.  I was probably around 6 or 7.  Her mom gave us sloppy joe’s.  I asked her, “Um, where is the salad?  the pasta?”  I had no idea that other families didn’t eat like we did.  I didn’t know what sloppy joe’s were!  I took one bite and was DONE.  She probably thought…”what a little bitch!” And I’ve never had a sloppy joe since. Ha.

My family turned me into a food snob from the beginning.  My parents loved to go to nice restaurants and I had an appreciation for that sort of thing.  I loved getting dressed up and going out with them.  My mom would let me put on her huge 80’s clip on earrings too.  Don’t get me wrong, growing up I loved fast food and junk food too. Even family diner type places.  I didn’t eat much fast food (until my freshman year of college when my ass blew up like the Goodyear Blimp..but that’s a different story.)

The older I get, the more I turn into an even bigger food snob.  When you love to cook and do it often…you come to realize the shit that’s in our grocery stores and restaurants. I’m seriously on a mission to to provide my family with the best that I possibly can.  Everyday it’s baby steps to better our refrigerator and pantry.  And I’m certain our government is trying to kill us with chemicals.  I’ve watched the Food Network for as long as I can remember.  One of my favorite favorite chefs is Ina Garten.  Yes, she’s a major food snob from the Hamptons.  But I love her because of the food she uses.  Only good quality ingredients and sometimes things that are hard to find.  Let me tell you, it makes all the difference in the world.  I don’t think I’ve ever made anything of hers that I didn’t love.  You won’t find her buying pre-shredded cheese or store-bought breadcrumbs.  Or even store bought salad dressings for that matter.  Her meals are a lot of work (most of them.)  But they are damn good and worth it if you have the time.

So, where was I? Ah the crockpot!  Well, until this soup I have never made anything in a crockpot that I was in love with.  Was it ok? Yeah.  Was it mushy?  Most definitely.  I feel like most crockpot recipes are for “mushy food.” I don’t love mushy food.  Unless it’s mashed potatoes. I’m sure there are lots of good recipes out there I just am not familiar with them.   Soups and stews I could totally do!  It wasn’t until I made this soup that my dismay for the crockpot slowly started disappearing.  I’m totally in love with this pea soup recipe from Whole Foods.  I’ve changed it just a bit to make it more to my liking.  Actually now that I think about it, I used to make Ina Garten’s version but found that this one is better!  It’s not a super thick pea soup.  It has so much flavor it’s amazing.  Serve it with some oyster crackers and your done!  Not to mention my son will not eat french fries but loves this soup.  Something I will never understand but whatever.  Wish I could say the same!  It’s soon cold right now in Nashville, this soup hit the spot.

Here is what you need:

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Split Peas, Chicken Broth, Garlic, Carrots, Celery, Hamhocks or a Ham Bone, Salt and Pepper.
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Rinse the peas and throw in a crockpot.  Put the ham hock/shank on top.  (These will be in the pork section of the grocery store.  Or sometimes they are by the packaged ham/hotdogs and refrigerated pickles.) Using a ham bone or shank is MUCH better than using diced ham.  
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Add 1 cup of finely chopped carrots and onions.
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Then add celery and minced garlic.
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Add the parsley and 6 cups of low sodium chicken broth!  
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Cover and cook on High 4-5 hours or Low 8-10 hours.  
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Mmmm season with salt and pepper, green onion and croutons or oyster crackers!  Relish!

Ingredients:
1 (16-ounce) package dried green split peas, rinsed
1 meaty ham bone or 2 ham hocks
1 cup sliced baby carrots
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 ribs celery plus leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Method:
Layer ingredients in slow cooker in the order given, adding the broth last. Do not stir ingredients. Cover and cook on high 4—5 hours or on low 8—10 hours until peas are very soft and ham falls off the bone.

NOTE:  MAKE SURE YOU SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER ABOUT 30 MINUTES BEFORE DONE.  IT WILL BE BLAND UNTIL YOU DO THIS.  

If you are worried about salt, check out this great article.  I use Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt quite often!

Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt

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