I love split pea soup, and I have for as long as I can remember. I wasn't a super fussy eater as a kid but I think we all remember the things we didn't like, even if over the years our tastes have changed and we're more adventurous as adults. I'm sort of surprised that this soup isn't on that list of "no like" as a kid, but I remember loving both split pea and the even uglier brown lentil soup. Go figure right?
Like the ugly duckling, this soup has its beautiful side, but you have to taste it to make that discovery. Rich with the mirepoix blend of sautéed onion, carrots, and celery, I've always done one thing that I think has this simple mixture stand head and shoulders above the others I've had. It's simple, too… I substitute chicken stock for the water that is most often called for when making a bean soup. Wait… guess there are a few more things I do differently!
See all pea recipes.
Put the olive oil and butter in a large pot and warm over medium heat until the butter has melted. Add the carrots, onions, and celery and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Transfer to a slow cooker and add the peas, ham bone or ham, thyme, and chicken stock. Cook on the lowest setting for 8-10 hours. If using a ham bone, remove the meat and add back to the pot.
Add the half-and-half and season with salt and pepper, to taste. To thicken, blend partially with an immersion blender. Or, remove about 3 cups, blend in a countertop blender, and return the blended soup to the pot. Reheat before serving, if necessary.