Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pea and ham soup

I only cook about five things. Fried rice, pea and ham soup, pizza, christmas cake and samosas. R is a good cook, thankfully. Here is how I make pea and ham soup.

You need to be around the house for a few hours to stir and watch and start two nights before you want to eat it.

Ham bones, around a kilo
Several peppercorns
Two large onions
500 grams of yellow split peas
A few bay leaves
You could put in a bit of curry powder or more peppercorns

Depending on the size of the ham bones, you will need a large pot or get your butcher to cut them in half. I guess you could halve the ingredients if you only have a smallish pot.

Put the ham bones as they are in the saucepan and cover with water.
Throw in the peppercorns and bay leaves
Roughly chop the onions and in they go. I never use salt and I guess plenty comes from the ham anyway, but you may want to add some.
Bring the pot to the boil and then cover and simmer for three hours. Stir about every half hour. Don’t let the bottom burn if your heat won’t go low enough. Use a mat under the pot.

Remove the ham bones, and remove the skin from them. If cooked well enough, it should almost fall off. Remove the meat from the bones and dispose of the bones and the skin. Roughly chop the meat into bite sized pieces, (not critical) and put the meat on a plate, cool, cover and put in the fridge.

Overnight allow the liquid to cool and place the split peas in a bowl and add water so that they are covered by around 3cm of water, or just over an inch. Remember, they swell somewhat.

Next morning, with a large spoon, skim the solidified fat off the top of the liquid. No problem if you miss some, but try to get most of it. Start reheating the liquid and drain and rinse the split peas. Add them to the liquid, along with the meat and cook another couple of hours. I like it cooked until the structure of the peas breaks down. But as long as they are soft, that is ok.

This is the most important step. No matter how good it smells and how hungry you are, allow the soup to cool and store overnight in the fridge for reheating next day. It will be twice as good the next day.

1 comment:

  1. After waiting for all that to happen, i'd end up opening up the can of pea and ham in the cupboard.

    But then nothing beats a freshly made soup at home.