I’ve gotten good at cooking things in the crock pot while on the road. This is one of those recipes which can be easily used of course in a house as well. But with minimal supplies, little room, and lots of time to let things cook, I’ve adapted this to life in an RV. This is my custom, unofficial, lets make it work, split pea soup.
Before we moved into Sleipnir, we used to live near a butcher that sold bacon ends. They were basically thick cuts of bacon meat, but form the parts of the slab that couldn’t be cut to make slices. It was cheap, usually about $2 for a pound and a half, and was thick, delicious bacon meat. Sometimes I’d cut it up and throw it in a soup, other times it was cut into small enough pieces that I didn’t even have to do that. When it cooks in a soup for several hours, the fat breaks down, the meat gets cooked, and it ends up being a salty, bacony flavor with a good consistency.
This time around, we didn’t have access to bacon ends. We have only a Dollar General to get supplies from without going far out of our way, and they don’t even have thick cuts of ham. We could have gotten Spam, but well, I’m not that much of a fan of Spam. So instead I went just for straight up, regular thick cut bacon.
I cut the bacon up, the whole package of it, into somewhat irregular, misshapen pieces. It wasn’t very easy and it didn’t cut well, but that’s fine. Cut it small enough and throw it in the crock pot.
I then added dry split peas. I have found that buying beans dry in bags is far more economical than buying cans, plus it weighs less and takes up less space. When I can buy a bag of beans or peas for about $1 and use it four times, or buy one can of beans for $1 and use it once, it makes much more sense to buy the beans dry and keep them for when we need them. I do need to get something to store them better though, some kind of hard plastic stackable container so we can keep a variety of beans on hand for when we need them.
How many peas? Well, enough. That’s how I measure. About a third of a bag works for two people, and we had a little left over.
Then add some cream of “something” soup. This time I used celery. Sometimes I’ll use mushroom. Occasionally I’ll go rogue and get golden mushroom soup too, if its available. Usually its one can for two servings roughly.
Add to that some chicken broth. You can also use vegetable broth. Beef broth could work too for a slightly different flavor, but I haven’t used it yet. I usually go with vegetable though.
Let simmer on high for several hours. Three hours is a good amount of time. The peas will break down, the bacon will cook, and all the flavors will blend together. I cooked ours for about three hours, then turned it down to low and let it go for another hour or so, and finally turned it off and let it stay warm for another hour until we were ready to eat.
And that, is it. Bacon, peas, cream of celery soup, and chicken broth. No seasoning, no salt, just let the flavors of the ingredients work together. That’s really all it takes to make a simple split pea soup.