Gluten free - Grain free - Dairy free - sugar free - egg free - nut free
For me, Christmas doesn't quite feel finished until I've cooked up the ham bone in a beautiful pea and ham soup. A few years ago I tried a new recipe which I've stuck to ever since. The original can be found in Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine, August 2010 issue, but I made a couple of little tweaks of my own. Mine came out a little thinner that some of the more traditional recipes I've used in the past, and with the addition of frozen peas, it feels a bit more like a summer or spring soup than a winter soup, which is rather appropriate I suppose! The nicest surprise came on the day after- I grabbed some left overs out of the fridge, spooned it into a bowl, licked the spoon, and realised how fresh and fabulous it tasted cold! Maybe it was fact that is was a scorching 42 degree day, but I polished off a large bowl of cold soup and loved it. It's also thicker when it's cold.
This is the kind of soup that you make on a lazy day at home when you'll be around for a few hours. You don't need to be watching it the whole time, but it takes about 3 hours all together.
Heat the oil in a large stock pot over low-medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender (about 10 minutes). Add ham hocks or bones, cover with cold water (about 4 litres), bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook until ham is falling from the bone (1 - 1 .5 hours).
Remove the bones from saucepan, set aside to cool and, when cool enough to handle, remove skin and bone, coarsely shred meat and set aside.
Meanwhile, add the split green peas and chopped carrots to the stock and simmer until very tender (45 minutes -1 hour). Add baby peas (reserve some for garnish if desired) and simmer until bright green (1 -2 minutes).
Purée in batches in a blender until smooth (or in the pot with a hand held 'stick mixer').
Add shredded ham to soup (reserve a little for garnish if desired), season to taste and keep warm till ready to serve. This is great served with crusty bread.