Try this thyme- and parsley-enhanced split pea soup for a filling and frugal meal. To save time in the evenings, load your slow cooker up in the morning and let it simmer on low all day; you’ll have a delicious meal waiting for you when you get home from work.
- One ham hock, or 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 medium-large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and diced (about 1½ cups)
- 1 pound dried split green peas
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 8 to 12 cups chicken stock or water
- Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
If using the ham hock: In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, then brown the ham hock until golden, about 6 minutes. If making the soup vegetarian: heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven.
Add the onion and garlic and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. (If the vegetables seem dry, add a little olive oil.) Stir in the carrots, paprika (if using), half the split peas, thyme and 8 cups stock or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes until peas are tender.
If using the ham hock, remove it from the pot. Mash the soup coarsely with a potato masher or use an immersion blender for a few whirrs (watch out for the thyme sprigs). If you’d prefer a smoother soup, blend until nearly smooth.
Add the remaining ½ pound split peas and the parsley and simmer about 1 hour, or until the peas are soft. If at any point the soup looks too thick, add more stock or water; if it looks too thin, remove the lid during the second simmer until it thickens. Again, if you prefer a smooth soup, purée to desired texture.
If you used the ham hock, remove any meat from the bone, cut it into small cubes and stir into the soup. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
– Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com