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Pea and Ham Soup

This is a labour of love to make, but so extremely delicious to eat it is worth it all. A dinner party soup that is also very economical and hearty, and well appreciated by all who get to enjoy your efforts.

Pictured: Green Split Peas

A good glug of olive oil with 25g butter
2 carrots, chopped fairly small – I like to quarter the carrot lengthways, then slice
1 onion, finely diced
1 ham hock
3 litres cold water
500g green split peas
Salt and pepper
Some stock powder, if extra flavour required

Prepare the carrots and onion and slowly caramelise with the butter and olive oil in a large stock pot for 10 minutes or til tender.

Add the ham hock and water and bring to the boil, simmer for 1 ½ hours. Don’t worry if you can’t fit the whole 3 litres of water in at first if your pot is a little small - I boil the kettle for when enough liquid has evaporated and top up the water while it simmers, plus I like to make sure the ham hock stays submerged and cooks through til tender. Another reason I like to keep adding water and keep the pot full is to make the soup go that little further - I like to make as large a pot of liquid stock from the ham hock as possible, then I can add a good amount of green split peas and have a large soup in the end.

After the 1 ½ hours, remove the ham hock to cool on a plate and add the split peas – they will simmer for 2 hours. Do not season yet. Stir every now and then to keep from sticking to the bottom.

Once ham hock has cooled, remove and shred the meat from the bone (I find this easiest by hand to choose the best bits etc) and add back to the soup.

Season with salt and pepper and a little stock if you feel it needs just a little more flavour – chicken or vegetable would be best.

Serves 8, and freezes well.

Pictured: Pea and Ham Soup