The ubiquitous “Pea & Ham Soup” sounds a little dreary but with a few tweaks here and there, this classic dish can reach a (somewhat!) sophisticated height.
“Dinner Party standard” if you will…
My adaption was based on the Dave Lieberman recipe, from foodnetwork.com. While more of a comfort dish to be enjoyed in the cooler months, I took advantage of Melbourne’s recent cold snap and thought it best to make such a dish.
The best ways to give this soup some ooomph are:
- Use a great chicken stock (buy a good quality stock, or better yet, make one yourself from scratch)
- Throw a few fresh bay leaves in during the cooking
- Use a great quality and smokey ham hock (I bought mine from the brilliant Jonathan’s of Smith Street, Collingwood)
Prepare your mirepoix (diced carrot, celery and onion) and saute for several minutes over hot oil until the vegetables have softened.
Add your split peas, ham hock and bay leaves to the mix.
Cover with the chicken stock and simmer gently for around 1 hour. You want the split peas to have softened, but not to be mushy. (Al dente!?)
Once you’re happy with it, remove the hock.
Puree with a hand mixer to give the consistency you desire. It should be pretty thick and creamy.
The meat from the hock should be pretty much falling off the bone. Grab a sharp knife and pull apart all the really good stuff.
Obviously, trim away all the fat and bone to leave the smokey ham pieces. Throw them back in the soup. Garnish with and/or stir through parsley if you wish.
1 large onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 bay leaves
400g split peas
800g good quality smokey ham hock
2 litres of chicken stock
salt & pepper
- Saute the onion, celery, carrots and bay leaves in the olive oil for around 10 minutes, until soft
- Add the peas and ham hock and then cover with chicken stock (and extra water as required)
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour, or until peas are softened but not mushy
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Remove ham hock and let it cool a little
- Remove the ham meat from the bone and trim fat, return the meat to the pan
- Garnish with parsley, or stir through.