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Kicked-Up Split Peas Soup with Bacon and Crabmeat

Kicked-Up Split Peas Soup with Bacon and Crabmeat

8 thick slices, hickory smoked bacon strips, chopped
2 medium Vidalia onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 (16-oz.) pkg. dried green split peas, rinsed
1 lb. smoked ham hocks
2 bay leaves
4 (26-oz.) cartons chicken stock
1 c. heavy cream
Salt, black pepper to taste
1 lb. lump crabmeat, drained and picked over

  1. In large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  2. To the drippings add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in peas, ham hocks, bay leaves and stock.
  4. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1-2 hours or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally.
  5. Discard bay leaves, remove ham hocks from soup. When cool enough to handle, remove met from bones and cut into small cubes, discard bones.
  6. Puree soup with hand held immersion blender.
  7. Stir in cream and ham. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Heat through.
  9. In a small bowl, combine the crabmeat with the bacon and serve with soup.
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