Emeril's Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup

INGREDIENTS

10 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds dried green split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained
1 medium onion, diced small
4 small carrots, diced small
1 celery stalk, diced small
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled)
2 dried bay leaves
2 small ham hocks (1 1/4 pounds total), with several 1/2-inch slits cut into skin
Coarse salt and ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a medium pot, bring broth to a boil, then carefully pour into a 5/6-quart slow cooker.
Add split peas, onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, bay leaves & ham hocks
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on high until split peas are creamy, 6 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove ham hocks from pot - discard skin and bones. Dice meat. Discard bay leaves.
Lightly mash peas with the back of a wooden spoon.
Return ham to soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: This recipe does not fit in the smaller crock pot.