I've been using our slow cooker quite a bit, lately. It's so convenient to throw everything into it in the morning and then come dinner time, it's all ready. Plus nothing smells more like home than delicious smells continually wafting about, making hungry tummies growl.
And yes, I know, I know...it's almost a vegetable soup but not quite. I just can't go past making a meaty stock for my soups...so if you are a veggie, feel free to do what you need to do and leave the bones out.
In a large slowcooker, add the following:
2-3 bacon bones or 1 smoked ham hock. (If using bacon bones, you may want to contain them in a piece of muslin for easy removal later on).
3 large carrots, half diced and half grated
3 sticks celery, diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 sml swede, diced
1 sml parsnip, diced
1 potato, yep you guessed it..diced!
small handful of green split peas
small handful of yellow split peas
small handful of pearl barley
1 400g tin crushed tomatoes
Cover the lot with water, so that the soup is nearly reaching the brim of the cooker. Place the lid on and set cooker on high for 2-3 hours and then on low for a further 4-6 hours...OR just cook on low for 9-10 hours and forget about it in the meantime.
Two hours before serving, add 1/4 cabbage, shredded (1/2 cabbage, if small).
Remove the bones. Run a stick blender through the soup just before serving to puree about half of the vegetables. Leave the remaining vegetables as whole pieces. If using a ham hock, shred some of the meat and add to the soup. Season well with salt and pepper. Best served with crusty bread...all the better if homemade and still warm, with lashings of butter.
Keeps well, freezes great and is fantastic for shipping off with kids to school in a thermos for their winter lunches.