A traditional pea and ham soup
This is a perfect dish to make when you have some left-over ham
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 leek, washed, trimmed and finely chopped
1-2 cooked ham hocks, or a ham bone and 300g ham scraps
2 litres ham stock, water or a combination of the two
2 bay leaves
300g yellow split peas
2-3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Fry the onion, carrot and leek in the butter in a large saucepan.
If using freshly cooked ham hocks, remove the fat and shred off most of the meat, reserve. Strain the cooking water to use as stock for your soup—you’ll need around 2 litres. Give it a taste—if it is very salty, use half stock, half water.
Once the vegetables are soft, add the ham bones, split peas, bay leaves and stock.
Simmer the soup until the peas have softened and begun to collapse. Remove the ham bones and puree about one third of the soup using a blender or food processor and return the puree to the pot. Better still, just plunge a stick blender in for a few seconds to give a creamy background to the soup.
Top up with more water or ham stock if the soup seems very thick. You’re unlikely to need more salt, especially once you have added the splash of Worcestershire sauce, but season if necessary.
Heat through, then add the shredded ham to the soup, leaving a little to sprinkle on the top. I finished my soup here with creme fraiche, mint and radish sprouts.
ALTERNATIVE: Mix up plenty of finely chopped chives with some grainy mustard and creme fraiche, or just take a dollop of double cream, stir in at the table.
Recipe: Jenny Chandler