Pea and Ham Soup


250 g dried green split peas (see Hints and tips)
1 litre chicken stock or water
1 smoked ham hock (about 500 g)
1 small brown onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stick, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs mint

1. Place the split peas in a pot with the chicken stock and ham hock.

2. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour. keep the liquid level the same by topping up with stock or water as needed.

3. add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and herbs and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

4. check to make sure the vegetables are tender and the split peas are mushy, if not add more liquid and continue to cook. remove the ham hock and herbs. season with salt to taste and serve.


* You will needcutting board, cook’s knife, vegetable peeler, liquid and weight measures, large pot and wooden spoon.

* To cut the cooking time in half, soak the split peas overnight in 1 litre of cold water.

* To gain extra flavour from the vegetables, sauté in 100 ml olive oil over medium heat in a separate pan for 5 minutes before adding to the soup, allowing 20 minutes to cook until tender.

* The flavour of the soup will develop if left to sit in the fridge for 2 days before being reheated and consumed with crusty bread.

* Use the chopped meat from the ham hock to go back into the soup or add to an entirely different dish. Combine with leftover roasted vegetables in a fry-up like bubble-and-squeak or make homemade baked beans and add the hock meat before being baked.

* Too often this soup is made way too thick. Use water or stock to thin the soup if it is getting too thick.

* As painful as it may appear, it is important to sort through the peas as small stones and debris can be found among them. Once sorted, rinse under coldwater to remove any dust from manufacturing, soak in plenty of cold water and drain well. Omit the ham hock entirely to produce a delicious split pea soup.


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