I thought I’d share with you a simple recipe for pea and ham soup that I’ve been using lately. For preference I’d make it with what are known in Australia as ‘Blue Boilers’ referring to whole dried peas, but since they are both hard to come by lately for some reason, and need soaking overnight, I’ve begun using split peas which taste close enough to the original to be acceptable… and make the cooking process *so* much easier! 🙂
2 x ham hocks (for preference) tho at a push bacon hocks or even bacon bones would do
4 x cups green split peas (*not* lentils… though you could try it as a variation… tastes ok but it isn’t the same)
2 x fair sized leeks washed, chopped fairly finely
2 x largish carrots, chop finely to taste.
6 litres water… or more.
1 tsp or so of both whole peppercorns and allspice.
(wrap them in a muslin bag if you don’t like the crunchy feel of them. Personally I *like* to leave them loose in the soup… gives it a special ‘edge’ when you bite them occasionally!!)
balance seasoning once cooked – remember the ham might be salty so check first… too late afterwards!
Simple… chuck it all in a large enough pot, bring to the boil, cook on simmer for 2 – 3 hours *stirring* now and then to prevent burning and adding water if the mix solidifies… i.e. starts to look/feel too thick for your tastes!
Note: If you have a slow boiler it would be ideal… throw ingredients in, go to work, come home and eat.
Remove ham bones and meat using slotted spoon or similar. Strip meat from bones. Shred meat and reserve, give bones to dog… or bin.
If you like soup au naturale… mix shredded meat back in and serve hot with thick buttered toast or rolls.
If you prefer a smoother soup… blend all or most of the soup prior to returning the shredded meat (I use a hand held blender – takes 30 secs).
I think it’d hard to find as tasty and simple a recipe that uses mostly fresh foods *and* is as easy to make!!