As the weather has now started to cool a bit my husband has started dropping not so subtle hints that a nice hearty soup would be nice for dinner. As I know his favourite soup is a pea and ham soup, I thought I’d spoil him by making his favourite one first. This pea and ham soup is full of protein and fibre and is guaranteed to keep you going through the day, even when you’d rather be curled up on the lounge with a good book!
- 1 smoked shank or ham hock
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 litre water
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 1\2 cups dried green split peas
- Few sprigs of fresh thyme – dried thyme can be used instead
- 2 bay leaves
- Ground black pepper to season
- 1 tblsp olive oil
In a large heavy saucepan with a lid, sauté the chopped vegetables, garlic and herbs in the olive oil on low heat until the onion becomes translucent. Place the ham hock on top and pour over the chicken stock and water. Bring it to the boil and then add the split green peas. If you add the peas before it has boiled they have a tendency to stick to the bottom.
Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for one hour, or until the split peas are cooked through and mushy. Turn off the heat and remove the ham hock. When it is cool enough to handle, trim off the skin and any fat. Slice off the meat and cut into small chunks.
Some recipes tell you to blend the soup before returning the chopped ham to the soup, but I like my soups a bit chunky and rustic, so I don’t usually blend my soups. It’s a personal preference, so blend the soup if you like it smooth. Return the chopped ham hock to the saucepan and stir it through. Remove the bay leaves and the thyme sprigs. Taste a spoonful to see if it needs more pepper.
This soup will easily serve 6 hungry people. And like all soups it is perfect served with a slice or two of crusty bread slathered in gorgeous butter.