Pea and ham hock soup
is such a classic winter comfort food go-to recipe. It completely delivers on nourishing, warming and delicious comfort food.
All that delicious smoky ham mixed with peas, a flavour base of onions, carrots, celery and leeks. Throw some frozen peas in just before serving. Add the freshness of loads of chopped fresh mint and youʼre on your way to complete soup nirvana.
Whether you like it puréed or chunky bits of veg with the thick, smokey chunks of moist delicious ham is up to you.
We grew up with this soup in our cold Canberra winters. The sort of weather that freezes your water pipes. Mum would make this soup in a pressure cooker and be done in an hour or so. As Iʼm terrified of a pressure cooker, I happily take the extra time of cooking on the stove top.
First make a ham stock. Gently simmering the smoked ham hock with aromatics of onion, celery, leek, carrot, parsley and peppercorns. The smokey hock infuses the water and the aromatics add extra depth of flavour.
The hock will cook for a couple of hours till itʼs falling off the bone. Strain the stock and discard the bones, vegetables and fatty skin.
We then have a really flavoursome stock to add the remaining ingredients to. Gently sweating off the onions, celery, carrots, leeks in butter over low to medium heat , for 5-6 minutes till softened but not browned.
Dried peas can go wrong, depending on how old the peas are. By this we mean that on occasion they can seem to take forever to break down. Look for peas with a long use by date when purchasing. These should have a shorter cooking time than older peas. When cooked , they melt down into a thick and creamy texture. We’ve made pea soup at times that the peas seem to take forever to cook. Supposedly, it can be the age of the peas, the altitude, adding salt…….who knows? Sometimes they just take longer!
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Comfort food at its best! Pea and ham soup warms the winter blues away with its nourishing and warming goodness. This can be made on the stove top, pressure cooker or slow cooker. Too easy!
ham hock stock
- 2 lb (1 kg) smoked ham hock
- top green part of the leek
- medium onion roughly chopped
- stick celery roughly chopped
- medium carrot roughly chopped
- 2–3 stems of parsley
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 3 medium carrots chopped
- 2 sticks celery chopped
- 1 leek halved and thinly sliced
- 3 oz (80g) butter
- 17 ounces (500 g) dried green split peas
- 4 pints (2 1/2 litres) cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon fine white pepper
- salt to taste – depending on how salty the hock is
- 1 cup mint leaves without stems finely chopped
- place all stock ingredients in a large pot
- cover with 3 litres cold water
- bring to boil, then simmer for 2 hours or until meat is fork tender
- you will probably need to top up with more water half way through
- when hock is cooked remove from liquid, discarding skin and bones
- strain stock discarding vegetables and peppercorns
- chop meat ready for soup
- melt butter in pot over low-medium heat and gently sweat off onion, leek, carrot and celery for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally – vegetables need to be translucent, not browned
- now add peas and stock – about 6 pints (3 litres)
- bring to boil then simmer stirring frequently – so that peas don’t stick to bottom of pan
- add a dash more water if it has evapored too much and the peas havent dissolved
- cook until peas have dissolved– around 45-55 minutes
- at this point you can puree soup with a stick blender or leave chunky
- return meat, mint and pepper to pot and heat
- taste for salt and season if necessary
- peas love to stick, so stir bottom of pan every 10 minutes or so
- soup freezes well
- mint and peas go so well together so don’t hold back on the mint!
- Category: soup
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: English