Split Pea Soup with Ham

Serves 8 to 12
Cooker: Large round or oval
Setting and Cook time: LOW for 13 to 15 hours;

meat shredded and bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper added at 12 hours
3 cups dried green split peas, rinsed and picked over
10 cups water or chicken broth
1 ham bone or 2 meaty ham hocks, rinsed
2 medium-size yellow onions, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 ribs celery with leaves, diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Place the split peas in the slow cooker along with the water, ham bone, onions, carrots, and celery. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW until the peas are completely tender, about 12 hours.

2. Skim off any scum that comes to the top. Remove the ham bone, let it cool a bit, then strip off the meat. Discard all fat and bone. Shred the meat and return it to the soup. Add the bay leaves and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on LOW 1 to 3 hours longer.

3. Puree the soup in the cooker using an immersion blender, or in batches using a blender or food processor. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot.