Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Nostalgia - Pea & Ham Soup

I come from a large family and one of my favourite meal memories is pea and ham soup. It was also a soup that we made when our family was on canteen duty at our local football club. I used to really enjoy working in the canteen, although, I had no interest in the footy.

This is a thick and hearty soup that we made by the 'boiler'. Growing up we had it with a slice of buttered bread or toast. These days I serve it with a crusty roll or a thick chunk of sourdough.

I prefer my pea and ham to have some texture so I do not puree the soup. If cooked long enough the vegetables and peas collapse and become very mushy. Mash and stir, the soup will develop a pureed and smoothish texture. Adjust the thickness of the soup to suit your tastes.

This makes a lot of soup, it keeps well in the fridge but I prefer to freeze it. If  freezing evaporate the soup so that it is more concentrated. This will take up less space in the freezer. Add water as you reheat.

Pea and Ham Soup
1 bag green split peas (500g)
1 ham hock
1-2 onions, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
3 sticks of celery, finely diced
2 potatoes, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
A little oil
1 bay leaf

Sour cream
Chopped mint/parsley

Diced cooked Polish sausage/cabanossi/kabana

Rinse split peas and drain

Put oil and vegetables in a pot and sauté for a minute or so.

Add split peas, hock, bay leaf, garlic and a couple of litres of water. Bring to boil and then simmer until split peas are soft and mushy. Stir from time to time to ensure the peas and vegetables are not sticking. This will take approximately two hours. 

More water may need to be added. It is better to have too much liquid and evaporate it away. Remove bay leaf after one hour.

Carefully remove hock from soup. Allow to cool slightly, discard the skin and bone. Shred or dice the meat.

Return hock flesh to soup pot and stir or mash the soup. The longer the soup cooks the mushier it becomes.
The soup can be pureed if a smooth soup is preferred. Add the hock flesh after the pureeing process.

To serve
Garnish with a spoon of sour cream and chopped mint.  Add some extra sausage if desired.

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