You know when winter is getting closer when the butcher starts displaying nice, big, fat, smoked bacon hocks. They just cry out to be made into pea and ham soup. But not just that green stuff you get out of a can, but thick, rich, chunky vegetable and yellow split pea soup. I love it with lots of bread and butter. It is really easy to make, and the best part is you only have one pot to wash up!
What you need:
- Large bacon hock
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks of celery
- 2 potatoes
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 zucchini
- 1 onion
- 1 1/2 cups yellow split peas
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 can chick peas
- fresh parsley
- vegetable stock
What you need to do:
Boil the bacon hock, in enough water to cover, for about 1 hour (depending on the size) or until the fat layer pulls away from the meat easily. The meat underneath will be nice and soft and tender. You might need to keep topping up the water so it doesn’t boil dry! Set the meat aside until it is cool enough to handle.
Keep the liquid boiling and add the lentils and the yellow peas. You can add green split peas as well, if you have some, I just didn’t have any today! Let these cook for a few minutes, about ten or so, until you see the peas start losing their hard edges. You may need to add some more liquid ( vegetable stock is good) at this point if it is starting to be soaked up by the peas.
Meanwhile, chop all the veges, and any others you might have lurking in the fridge, and put them in the pot with the lentils and peas. I like the soup chunky so I cut them into big pieces as they so cook down a little but if you like it smoother make them smaller, its up to you. Bring this to the boil. You can keep adding the stock, bit by bit, if it looks too dry.
Now is the fun part! Take the bacon hock and peel back the outer layer of fat. Underneath, you will find the yummy, meaty part. Pull all of this meat from the bone and put it in the pot of boiling veges. I’m a bit fussy and I make sure there are no yucky looking bits or extra fatty bits before I put it in the soup. Sometimes you might get a little bit of bone in the meat too so I make sure there isn’t any either.
Now turn the heat down and let simmer for about another 1/2 hour or so until the veges are tender. When the veges are how you like them, add the can of chick peas. You just need to warm these through as they are already cooked and you don’t want them too mushy! I also add finely chopped parsley and salt and pepper at this point and then turn the heat off.
Cut up some of your favourite bread, toast it or leave it fresh, and start dipping!!