Crock-pot® split pea soup is a vegetable-based soup made from peas and other ingredients that are freshly prepared and simmered in a crock-pot®. A crock-pot® may be constructed of ceramic or enamel, and is an electric cooking device that holds a large amount of food or liquids. Unlike standard cooking pots, this electrical device is not used on the stove top. It is sometimes referred to as a slow cooker, due to the extended cooking time most crock-pot® recipes call for. For preparing crock-pot® split pea soup, it is necessary to allow the ingredients to simmer for several hours to bring out the flavor and texture of the soup.
When preparing crock-pot® split pea soup, many cooks use vegetable broth as a base. Alternately, vegetarian or chicken bouillon cubes may also be used for this recipe. For a creamy texture, a small amount of whole or skim milk may be used for making split pea soup in a crock-pot®. For seasonings, many prefer to add fresh finely chopped garlic or garlic powder in addition to salt and pepper. Basically, any other vegetable may be added, including carrots, celery, or potatoes.
Vegetarian split pea soup is a preferred choice of vegetarians and vegans. A variation of crock-pot® split pea soup may also include meat. Most popular additions to crock-pot® split pea soup are diced or cubed ham and chicken. Some people prefer to buy pre-packaged cubed chicken or ham for adding to the pea soup. Diced bacon or bacon bits may also be added to crock-pot® split pea soup for added texture and flavor.
It generally takes several hours to slow cook split pea soup. The amount of time necessary to cook the soup will depend upon the level that is used on the crock-pot® setting. Typically, four or five hours on the highest setting should be sufficient when cooking crock-pot® split pea soup. When prepared on a low setting, the split pea soup might require eight or nine hours of cooking time. The best method of telling if the soup is fully cooked is by testing the consistency of the peas. Slow cooked peas should be tender and moist and not firm.
After the split pea soup is fully cooked, it's a good idea to stir the mixture thoroughly before serving. Alternately, the soup may be mixed in a blender to even the texture. Many people enjoy serving cornbread or corn muffins with crock-pot® split pea soup.