Saturday, December 18, 2010

Recipe: Split Pea and Ham Soup

A complete classic of course, but this is the first time i've ever tried this, and the first time i've ever cooked split peas before! They are rather scrumptious, i wasn't sure whether to soak them or not, but basically i figured they are like fat lentils- no soaking required, just need to cook them a bit longer than normal lentils. This is actually a little taster from my roman cookery book, you'd be surprised that what seems to be such a classic, kind of "british" dish, actually has origins in ancient roman cuisine. I've suggested to use vegetable stock, because that means it is still suitable for vegetarians. Then for all the meat-eaters, you just garnish it with the ham and stir it in. There, everybodys happy.

Split Pea and Ham Soup (makes 6 bowls) 79p per bowl, 93p with bread and butter.

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stick, diced
½ tsp celery salt
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
300g split peas
2.5 litres vegetable stock (or pork stock if not serving veggies)
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
240g diced ham to garnish

1. Sautee the onions, carrot, celery and celery salt in the olive oil, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add all other ingredients except the ham, and cook on a medium heat, covered, for 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove the bay leaves, and blend until fairly smooth (you will probably have to do this in batches). Heat the blended mixture until piping hot, season to taste, and serve, garnished with the diced ham.

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