Boiling a ham hock and making pea soup

Soup serves 4-6
Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online


If you are going to boil a ham why not make pea soup at the same time. You can also make this with fresh or frozen peas, but they will need to go in the stock for about 5 minutes only. In Victorian London this soup was known as London Particular; and the thick fogs of that time were nicknamed pea-soupers after it. You will find lots of different types of dried peas these days: quick soak, whole, split and so on. Any will do, you just need to soak ahead a bit. The size of the ham doesn't really matter if you are making soup and cooking ham for the family, so just buy whatever size you need and follow the cooking instructions.

1 ham knuckle or a joint of ham for boiling (soaked in water overnight if necessary)
30g butter
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
A few sprigs of thyme
250g green split peas soaked overnight
Freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently cook the onion for a few minutes until soft without colouring. Add the thyme, drained, soaked peas and ham and cover well with cold water. Bring to the boil and skim.

Add some freshly ground black pepper (not salt) and simmer for about 2 hours or according to the cooking instructions on the ham. By this time the peas should be soft and beginning to fall apart – if not, remove the ham and continue cooking until they are soft. Cooking times can vary, depending on how old the peas are.

Once the peas are cooked, blend them with about three-quarters of the liquid in a liquidiser, as coarsely or as smoothly as you wish, and add a little more liquid if it's too thick. Check the seasoning and add a little salt and more pepper if necessary. Shred some of the ham, add it to the soup and simmer for a few more minutes before serving.

Comments