It is my go-to bowl of pleasure food on a cold winters evening. It has become a firm family favourite over the years – so full of goodness yet so easy to make. And don’t be afraid to make more than you need as it is a great stand-by to have in the freezer.
Pea and Ham Soup
1 900g to 1kg ham or bacon hock with plenty of meat on it (ask your butcher to cut it in half for you)
500g packet of green split peas – washed and picked
3 medium/large carrots – peeled and diced
1 large brown and 1 red onion peeled and sliced
1 leek – white part only – sliced
1 medium/large red capsicum – diced
4 stalks of celery – roughly chopped – celeriac works well too (medium size)
1 large potato – small dice
1 generous cup of frozen peas
2 bay leaves and 1 bouquet garni
4 good sprigs of thyme
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 cups water (you can use all chicken or vegetable stock instead for more flavour – I do)
½ cup dry white wine – a dribble more won’t hurt
2 to 3 large cloves of garlic finely sliced/chopped
1 to 2 tbs olive oil
Fresh parsley for garnish
1. Rinse the split peas well under cold running water and remove any discoloured grains
2. Heat oil in large stock pot
3. Sweat onion, capsicum and celery over low/medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until softened.
4. Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes then add carrot and potato. Stir through for a minute or so then add the white wine and bring to the boil to burn off the alcohol.
5. Add hock, split peas, thyme, bay leaves, bouquet garni, stock and water and bring to the boil. Skim the surface to remove any froth and impurities. Then reduce heat to low and let simmer covered for 2 to 2½ hours until thickened. Stir occasionally and make sure it is not catching on the bottom especially towards the end as the soup thickens.
6. 10 to 15 minutes before removing the hock pieces (7) add the frozen peas.
7. Turn off heat and remove hock pieces to a plate and let cool, remove skin and shred the ham meat from the bone and set aside.
8. When the soup has cooled a little, discard the herbs and with a stick blender, blend the soup to your desired thickness. If too thick, add a little water until it is at your desired consistency.
9. Return the chopped bacon to the soup and stir through – check seasoning (optional: save some of the bacon for garnish with the fresh parsley).
Notes: Serve with a warm crusty bread (you can take it a step further by melting some tasty cheese over your bread of choice).
Enjoy and share with a friend.