With spring well and truly here, my soups and stews which I've been making for lunch have to made way for lighter salads but I thought I'd just quickly squeeze in this delicious pea and ham soup before it becomes too warm to post it!
Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever had a proper pea and ham soup- having grown up on mostly on mum's Asian soups or very occasionally, our handy collection of tinned condensed soups- which we tend to use for pasta moreso than as a soup anyway.
It was a rather odd craving for peas that I had the other day, which prompted me to make this classic pea and ham soup, seeing as it was the first, and only, pea based dish that popped up in my head. I'm sure there's plenty of delicious pea recipes out there but the only time I usually use peas is in their frozen form when I've injured myself. (don't worry, I bought a new bag of frozen peas to use for this soup!)
My family were quite reluctant to give this one a try, having only previously tried the ridiculously salty canned varieties, However, they were pleasantly surprised by this version.We found that the salty ham taste wasn't quite as overbearing and instead, complimented the fresh sweetness of the vegetables quite well. The recipe makes quite a number of servings but we finished it all in no time!
The soup is super easy to make, with the most time consuming step being the trimming of the ham hocks, which wasn't part of the recipe anyway, but there was so much fat on mine that I couldn't bear throwing that into the soup mixture. I also threw a couple of extra veggies in there which is why mine isn't a nice green colour but the end result was delicious all the same. This recipe will definitely be making a comeback next winter!
Pea and Ham Soup
Recipe from Gourmet Traveller
40 gm butter, coarsely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 ham hocks (about 800gm each)
750 gm dried green split peas
360 gm (3 cups) frozen baby green peas, defrosted
1 baguette, halved lengthways and cut into 5cm pieces
60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
60 gm softened butter
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp thyme ½garlic clove, finely chopped
- Heat butter in a large saucepan over low-medium heat, add onion and garlic and sauté until tender (10-12 minutes). Add ham hocks, cover with cold water (about 4 litres), bring to the simmer, reduce heat to low and cook until ham is falling from the bone (1-1½ hours). Remove hocks from saucepan, set aside to cool and, when cool enough to handle, remove skin and bone (discard), coarsely shred meat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, add split green peas to stock and simmer until very tender (45 minutes-1 hour). Add baby peas (reserve some for garnish if desired) and simmer until bright green (1-2 minutes). Purée in batches in a blender until smooth, add shredded ham to soup (reserve a little for garnish if desired), season to taste and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, for herb butter, combine ingredients in a small bowl, season to taste and set aside.
- Preheat a grill to high. Place baguette cut-side up on a baking tray and grill until golden (1-2 minutes each side), then spread with herb butter. Serve with hot soup topped with reserved baby peas (steamed until bright green) and shredded ham.