Boiling a ham hock and making pea soup
Soup serves 4-6
Saturday 30 November 2002
1 ham knuckle or a joint of ham for boiling (soaked in water overnight if necessary)
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.
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