Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
This is my version of a traditional English favourite. It’s wonderful to come home to on a cold winter’s day. It is best made with home-cooked ham, so that you can use chunky pieces and boil up the bones for a delicious flavour that you cannot get from a stock cube! Also, you’ll get great value and no waste from your ham joint. A bacon joint would make an ideal substitute for the ham, but go easy on the salt when seasoning!
- 500 g split peas
- 200 g cooked ham
- 2 sprigs of fresh mint
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- salt and black pepper
- 4 liters ham stock or 4 liters bacon stock or 4 liters vegetable stock
- 2 large leeks or 2 large onions, chopped
- extra stock or water
- 90 ml sour cream
- Soak the peas overnight. Drain and place in a strong saucepan. Add 4 litres of the stock and the herbs. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to moderate. After 10 minutes, reheat to low and continue to cook for a further 45 minutes. Check regularly, adding more stock or water if necessary. When cooked, the peas and the stock should have blended to make a thick, but still liquid, consistency.
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan and fry the leek or onion until it is soft. Add to the pan with the peas. Season with pepper and salt. You can always add more later.
- Add more stock or water if necessary, until you have the desired consistency. Bring to the boil, then simmer on a very low heat for about 25 minutes. Remove the mint and rosemary sprigs.
- If you like your soup very smooth, leave to cool for at least five minutes then purée about a third to a quarter at a time in a blender or press through a sieve.
- Return to the pan with the ham or bacon and reheat slowly for about 5 minutes.
- Check the seasoning, adjusting if necessary, then serve with a swirl of crème fraîche or soured cream.