I adore this soup. It’s all about the colour. The idea of pea and ham soup appeals to me in theory, but the reality of stodgy brown soup with pieces of ham through it, doesn’t quite do it for me. My bright green version is fresh, flavoursome and fun. I use green peas, a bag from the freezer in fact. I don’t use frozen vegetables much, but keep a bag each of corn kernels and green peas in the freezer to use occasionally. While I simply adore fresh shelled peas, there is just no need to use them in this recipe. By using frozen peas, this recipe can defy the seasons, but I can’t resist. It very much has a springtime flavour to it. Balzanelli Smallgoods have some beautiful ham hocks at the moment, and I’m sure a little springtime will do me good. I garnished this with some of the fabulous Capra goat’s curd and some fresh mint for a little extra freshness.
|reserved meat from ham hock|
|1 1/2||litres||ham stock (from above)|
|1||potato, peeled and chopped|
|400||grams||frozen green peas|
|2||tablespoons||fresh mint leaves|
|ground black pepper and salt|
* The potato emulsifies the pureed peas in the finished soup. If you want to make this even lower GI, use purple skinned, white sweet potato, but add a little more salt to balance the seasoning.
** Good substitutes include crème fraiche, ricotta cheese or mascarpone cheese.
To make the stock, combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for three hours. Add additional water as required to ensure the ingredients remain covered. When the ham is falling off the bone, turn off the heat. Remove the hock from the stock when cool enough to touch. Pull the meat from the bone and break into bite sized pieces. Discard the fat, skin, gristle and bone. Place in a sealed container and refrigerate. Strain the stock and refrigerate overnight.
To make the soup, remove the fat from the top of the cold stock. Place about half the stock in a saucepan with the potato pieces. Bring to the boil and cook till potato is tender. Add the peas and return to the boil, turn off the heat. Reserve some peas and mint leaves/buds to garnish later. Add the remaining, cold stock to the soup, and blend with remaining mint leaves in batches till smooth. Add the ham pieces to the soup. If you are going to freeze some of the soup, do so at this point. Otherwise, return the soup to the stove and heat through. Divide the soup (being careful to evenly divide the pieces of ham) among the serving bowls and garnish with a dollop of goats curd, some of the reserved peas and mint leaves. Serve immediately.