SPLIT PEA SOUP
1 can (49-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1-1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks
2 cups each chopped onions, celery and carrots
1 package (16 ounces) dried green split peas
2 bay leaves
Salad croutons, optional
In a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the broth, ham hocks, vegetables, peas and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until peas are tender.
Discard bay leaves. Remove meat from bones; cut ham into small pieces and set aside. Cool soup slightly.
In a blender, cover and process soup in batches until smooth. Return soup to slow cooker; stir in reserved ham. Heat through. Garnish with croutons if desired. Yield: 7 servings (about 2-1/4 quarts).