Pea & Ham Soup

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Being brought up in a Dutch family meant Pea and Ham Soup was consumed on a regular basis. We children loved the smells emanating from the kitchen as it cooked slowly throughout the afternoon. Obviously not everyone loves it as we do – in fact I don’t know many people who have even tried it! The texture tends to put some people off – the Dutch like it thick and chunky, though personally I like it a bit thinner, so I usually add more water.

I wanted a recipe that used the slow-cook method and found this recipe by NZ cook Allyson Gofton, which I’ve only slightly adapted. However, if you’d like to cook it more quickly, try this recipe from Kerrie Sun at Taste.com.au. This version, while very similar, makes about half the amount of soup and is cooked in a saucepan at a higher heat. The soup is also processed until smooth, rather than kept chunky. I’m sure, that somewhere between these two versions, you might find what works best for you. Enjoy!


PEA & HAM SOUP (Slow-Cook Method) 

Serves 8-10

Ingredients: (Click here for unit converter)

  • 500 grams green or yellow split peas, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 large ham or bacon hock
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, washed and sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 8 cups water or light chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves (or bouquet garni including rosemary and/or sage)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Optional:

  • 4 cooked medium smoked sausages, sliced (I used chorizo)
  • 1 beef stock cube or dash of Tabasco

Method:

  1. Turn the slow cooker on to low to pre-warm while preparing the ingredients.
  2. Scatter the split peas into the slow cooker. Add the ham or bacon hock, onions, carrot, celery, potatoes, water or stock, bay leaves or bouquet garni and stir to mix the ingredients.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. During that time, the peas will slowly disintegrate and become mushy.
  4. Carefully remove the ham bone, cover and set aside until cool. Pull away and discard any thick skin. Pull the meat off the bone and shred or chop. Remove the bay leaves or bouquet garni.
  5. Using a potato masher, mash the soup ingredients to make a chunky soup. Or, if you prefer a smoother soup, whiz some or all of the mixture with a stick blender or processor until you reach the desired texture.
  6. Stir in the shredded ham and add sliced sausages (if using). Season with stock cube or Tabasco (if using) and salt and pepper to taste. Add more water if you want a thinner consistency. Serve hot with toast or chunky bread.

Note: This soup thickens markedly as it cools – this is totally normal. A gentle reheat will thin it down again, though you may want to add more water.


Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting

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