Pea and ham Soup
The frozen peas give the soup not only a burst of colour, but also a lift in the flavour stakes. I’ve also added a squeeze of lemon to brighten things up even more, while a handful of mint gives just a little fragrance too. A bowl of this bright green beauty at the end of a cold winter’s day never fails to lift my spirits. To make matters even better, this is a soup that freezes extraordinarily well, so make a big batch and have it on standby.
5 minutes prep.
3.5 hours cooking
- 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 green peas
- 1 bunch English spinach, trimmed
- 1 bunch mint, leaves picked
- Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat, add the onion and garlic and sauté together until they become tender, this will take about 10-12 minutes. Add the ham hocks, cover with cold water (about 4 litres), bring to the simmer, reduce the heat to low, half-cover with a lid and simmer until the ham is falling from the bone (2-2½ hours).
- Remove hocks from the saucepan, set aside to cool and when it has become cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bone (discard), coarsely shred the meat and set aside.
- Add the split peas to the stock and simmer until very tender (45 minutes-1 hour, don’t salt the soup at this stage or it will slow down the cooking of the split peas).
- Add the frozen peas and simmer until bright green and just tender (1-2 minutes), then stir in spinach and half the mint to wilt.
- Blitz with a handheld blender or in batches in a food processor until smooth, add lemon juice and check the seasoning and consistency – if the soup is too thick for your liking, thin it down with a little water.
- Stir the shredded ham through the soup to warm it though (reserve a little to garnish the soup), ladle into bowls and serve scattered with the reserved ham and mint.