I’m lamenting the end of winter. The end of warm comfort food and soup. As soon as the leaves start to fall in Autumn and the days shorten to cool evenings, I’ve got the big soup pot out. It’s the ease of a mid week meal, a warm bowl in hand while watching an old movie on the box. The portability of a decent work lunch is a welcome relief from the work canteen.
We didn’t eat pork when I was growing up. My mother is not keen on it. Fortunately I rebelled. I have seen her side glances when my brother and I talk about some nice juicy pork belly and that I just can’t resist it.
As a consequence I didn’t grow up on ham and pea soup and this is, infact, the first time I’ve made it. I don’t know why I thought it was complicated, the process of finding a hock etc etc. It was, actually, ridiculously simple.
This was inspired by recipes from Tom Norrington-Davies and Stephanie Alexander.
There are many different ways to make this soup but I found this method to be just as simple and was satisfying to tend to on a Sunday afternoon.
Smokey Hock and Green Pea Soup
1 smoked ham hock (750g-1kg)
2 litres of water
1 brown onion, unpeeled, cut in half.
2 sticks of celery
1 clove of garlic, unpeeled
500g green split peas
Put the hock in a large saucepan with the water, 2 whole carrots, brown onion, 1 celery stick, 3 cloves and the garlic clove (lightly crushed with the side of a knife). Bring to a simmer for about 3 hours or until the ham is cooked and falling away from the bone. Skim the surface over the cooking time to remove any scum that collects on top.
Remove the hock and set aside to cool a bit. Meanwhile remove the vegetables and discard. Strain the liquid and return to a clean saucepan. Bring the liquid to the boil, add the green peas and keep on a rolling simmer for about an hour or until the peas start to fall apart and it looks like mushy peas.
Strip off the skin and discard. Remove the ham from the bone and add it back to the soup. No need to add salt as the ham provides that but feel free to add black pepper.
I’m definitely adding this to my winter soup list!