Pea and Ham Soup

Pea and Ham Soup

A winter favourite enjoyed by many generations of my family.  Making up this soup on a cold winter's day is a pleasure worth indulging and one which immediately evokes nostalgia for my childhood.  If you are not a long-time Pea and Ham Soup consumer, this is a slightly lighter version of the traditional English soup that was closer to a porridge.

3 good meaty ham hocks

1 cup dried split peas – soaked overnight in cold water

1 stick of celery, finely sliced into little half-moons

2 leeks, finely sliced into little half-moons

1 litre chicken stock

1 litre cold water

200mls Apple Cider

2 bay leaf

Grated nutmeg

1 clove of garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

½ teaspoon sugar

Sprigs of thyme, chopped

Fresh parsley, chopped

Juice and zest of a lemon

In a large soup pot, cook down the leeks, celery and garlic  in a little olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste and the sugar.  Increase the heat and lightly caramelise the veges.  Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and add the herbs, nutmeg, and peas and mix well so the peas are covered in the leek mixture.  Add the ham hocks, cider and the chicken stock.  Bring to the boil, then drop temperature down by adding the cold water.  Leave to simmer uncovered for 4 hours, occasionally stirring to ensure the hocks and peas do not stick.

Remove the bones, reserving the ham meat in the soup.

Check for seasoning and add lemon just before serving with crusty bread.