Pea and ham soup
This recipe is based on one by Heston Blumenthal which was published in The Sunday Times in 2007. I would never be able to improve upon any recipe created by the inimitable Heston, but my husband likes strong oniony and garlicky flavours and the smokiness of Spanish panceta, hence this adaptation.
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- 200g medium onions, cut in half
- 200g carrots, cut into chunks
- 150g celery, cut into chunks
- 250g leeks, cut into chunks
- 2 bulbs garlic, crushed
- 1 large, or 2 small bay leaves
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 ham hock, weighing about 1.25kg
- 2 litres water
For the soup
- 50g butter
- 200g shallots, sliced
- 75g panceta ibérica de bellota, chopped
- 1 bulb garlic, crushed
- 700g frozen peas, defrosted
- freshly ground black pepper
To make the stock
- Add all the ingredients for the stock in a large, heavy-based pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat.
- Skim any scum from the surface, reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 hours until the hock is cooked.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain the stock through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, reserving the ham hock.
- It is advisable to store the stock in the fridge, and preferably overnight to allow any fat to harden. It will then be easier to remove.
To make the soup
- Heat the butter in the same pan, add the shallots, panceta and garlic, then sweat for 10-15 minutes until the shallots are tender.
- Add the stock, bring to the boil and skim.
- Add 500g of the peas and return to the boil, then purée with a stick blender.
- Bring back to the boil and adjust seasoning.
- If the soup is too thick, add a little water until the desired consistency is achieved.
- When the ham hock has cooled, remove the meat in flakes and add to the soup.
- Shortly before serving, heat the soup, with the remaining 200g peas and fry the panceta over a high heat until crisp.
- Serve the soup in bowls, sprinkling the crisp panceta over the soup and drizzle with a little of the panceta fat from the pan.
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