Green Pea & Ham Soup
- 45min prep
- 5hr cook
- 8 Servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ small Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 teaspoons Maldon or another flaky sea salt
½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
Five-fingered pinch of mint leaves, plus some torn leaves for finishing
Two 10-ounce packages Birds Eye frozen baby peas
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 or 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
Put the butter in a large pot that has a lid and set it over medium heat. Once the butter starts to froth, add the onion, carrot, and salt and stir. Cover the pot and cook, stirring every now and again, until the onions are soft and creamy (but not colored) and the carrots are tender but firm, about 15 minutes.
Add the wine and bring it to a boil (turn the heat up if you need to). Let the wine boil until it’s all but gone, about 5 minutes. Add the mint and 4 cups of the ham broth and bring the liquid to a boil, then add the peas. (At this point, the carrots will have bobbed to the top. I like to pick out most of the carrot chunks before pureeing the soup, then add them back after. That way, you can nibble on them in the soup, getting that bit of texture.) Cook at a simmer until the peas are warmed through and tender, about 5 minutes.
Blend the pot’s contents, in batches, until smooth. Return all the bright-green pea puree to the large pot, add the ham pieces and carrots, and cook at a very gentle simmer for about 5 minutes, just to let the flavors mingle and heat the ham. Have a taste, and season with salt. How much you need to add will depend on how salty the ham hocks are.
Add a generous drizzle of olive oil, several twists of black pepper, and the torn mint leaves. Then add the crème fraîche in little blobs here and there, so everyone will get a bit. Serve the soup in the pot, with small bowls along-side.
1kg meaty smoked ham hocks
½ medium Spanish onion, halved
3 small celery stalks, very roughly chopped
½ medium carrot, peeled, very roughly chopped
1 head garlic, halved horizontally, not peeled
1 fresh bay leaf, or ½ dried
6 black peppercorns
8 cups of water
Combine the hocks, vegetables, bay leaf, peppercorns, and 8 cups of water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low, put the lid on, and cook at a nice steady simmer until the meat on the hocks is so tender it’s almost falling off the bone, 4 to 5 hours.
Carefully remove the hocks and put them in a big bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve into the bowl, and discard the vegetables and aromatics. Let the hocks cool in the liquid.
When the hocks are cool enough to handle, pull off the meat in bite-sized chunks. Discard the bones and any hard bits and some of the fat.