PEA AND HAM SOUP WITH SWEET POTATO

Love soup – something that you need to grow into, or at least I did. Funny thing is I would never choose soup from a menu in a restaurant, probably because I have never had one that tasted any better than something I make myself.

Last time I tried this soup it was made with smoked hocks and the full quantity of split peas. It ended up being a lot of effort, quite expensive and time consuming and I didn’t even like it. I approached this attempt with scepticism but the result was fantastic. Swapping some of the peas with sweet potato and potato gave it a creamier texture. I made it in the pressure cooker, about 20 minutes, and left it to slow release and cool before removing the hocks to remove the meat and blend the vegetables. I reheated just before serving. It really was quick and easy.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 carrot, peeled, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 g yellow split peas
  • 1.5 litres of stock (chicken or vegetable of a combination) just enough to cover the ingredients
  • additional 1 litre water or stock added when blending to achieve the desired consistency
  • 2 ham hocks from appox 1kg (from the deli – I prefer unsmoked)

 Method

Wash split peas well and leave to drain
Sauté the onion, garlic, carrots and celery in the pressure cooker until the onions soften. Season.
Add the split peas, potato, sweet potato, bay leaf and stock, and stir to combine. Add the hocks, pushing down to ensure they are mostly covered and bring to the boil. Cover, when the pressure is reached commence timing. After 20 minutes remove from heat and allow to sit until the pressure has reduced naturally, or leave longer for the flavours to develop. Check the peas and vegetables are cooked to mushiness.
Remove the hocks and when cool enough to handle pull off the skin and break the meat into bite sized pieces.
Remove the bay leaves and blend the vegetables adding extra stock (from the one litre) to achieve desired consistency. Add additional seasoning or stock powder and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Return the meat to the pot and reheat to serving temperature or, alternatively, reheat the soup and place the meat on top of the soup to serve.

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