I have fond memories of my grandfather making pea and ham soup. In his latter years he became very competent in the kitchen, having a few firm favourites that would be known throughout the family as “grandad’s recipes”. Along with pea and ham soup was his home-made bread, hot cross buns at Easter and stilton cheese. I remember fondly admiring how much delight he would get from making these specialties. And now I can relate to the satisfaction of serving my family with densely nourishing meals.
The pea and ham soup has long been in hibernation. But recently – out of the blue – Mum popped over with a pot of pea and ham soup which sparked my interest to add this recipe to the repertoire.
Mum’s recipe for pea and ham soup is incredibly easy. Taking the meat off the bone is a little fiddly, but well worth the effort for this rich, creamy and hearty winter’s meal.
500g split peas (I used the yellow ones)
1 x ham hock
3 – 4 bacon bones
2 x leaks, sliced thinly
2 x sticks of celery, sliced thinly
3.5 litres filtered water
Wash the split peas thoroughly.
Cover the split peas with 3.5 litres of filtered water and leave them to soak over night.
Transfer the soaked peas and the water to a soup pot over medium heat with the lid on. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour.
Add the leaks and celery to the pot and keep simmering for about 2 further hours. By this stage, the ham should be falling off the bone. Consider adding more water, if you prefer a thinner soup.
Remove the bacon bones. Extract the chunks of ham from the soup and, using a sharp knife, trim the meat and fat away from the thick rind and bone. Then return the meat to the soup.
You could serve the soup as it is or you could blend it using a stick blender or transfer the soup to a blender to blend until smooth and creamy. Either way, it is also delicious served with toasted bread.
Do you have any family recipe specialties that need to come out of hibernation this winter? What are your favourites? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.