When I think of pea and ham soup, I usually think of a bowl of muddy green, overly salty, overly watery, and generally unappetizing soup reserved for days when there’s not much else in the cupboard than dried peas. I never even considered the possibility that it could be classed up with fresh peas and high quality smoked ham until I saw Peter’s photograph. What a difference! This soup looks thick and hearty and flavorful, a complete departure from my mental image. I’ll for sure be breaking this recipe out on the next chilly day we have.
PEA AND HAM SOUP RECIPE
For the stock:
1 smoked ham hock, weighing approx 600 grams
2 litres cold water
1 leek (white part only)
1/2 brown onion
2 small or 1 large carrot chopped into even chunks
1/2 celery stalk
a bouquet garni made up of 2 bay leaves, 5-6 peppercorns, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 4 stalks parsley
For the soup:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
500 grams frozen peas
salt and pepper to season
Place the ham hock along with the water, vegetables and bouquet garni in a tall, stock pot. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.
Cook for approx 2-2.5 hours until the ham hocks are soft and nearly falling off the bone.
Remove the ham hocks and set aside to cool. Discard the bouquet garni and using a hand blender blend all the veggies and stock. Set aside.
In a separate pot heat the olive oil, add the onions and garlic and allow to soften for a few minutes. Add the peas and the ham hock stock and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Blitz with a hand blender and add the shredded ham meat (discarding any fatty bits) to the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately with crusty bread