Pea Soup with Ham

IMG_2734A hearty bowl of pea soup can turn a day around.  Working outside during the month of February can be bone chilling cold.  We do get the odd “day lent”, when the sun pours down and reminds us of the spring that’s right around the corner.  Usually though, it’s wet with the occasional snow flurry.  The ground is saturated with a winter’s worth of rain, and it’s the perfect time to pound in fence posts before the ground dries up for another year.  Wire to be stretched, staples to be hammered, all working towards a hard day’s work.  When we come into the kitchen, and know that we are about to have a hearty bowl of soup, we feel looked after, cossetted even.

This is so easy to make, and the vegan version is great as well.  Enjoy big bowls full with fresh scones on the side as a fabulous supper.  You’ll be glad we’re in the depths of winter.

Click here for printable version.

Ingredients

8 cups cold water

1# dried peas (about 2 ¼ cups) IMG_27852 t salt

ham hock or bone from a roast ham (leave out if doing a vegetarian version)IMG_2686

1 bay leafIMG_2692

2 carrots, peeled, trimmed and chopped fairly small

1 onion, peeled and chopped fairly small

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fairly smallIMG_2694

IMG_2695

IMG_2699

1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped fairly smallIMG_2787

1 t sugar

½ t dried thyme

⅛ t dried chiliesIMG_2700

2 T butter

2 T flour

salt to taste

Directions

Place the peas, salt, ham hock and bay leaf in the cold water in a 6-quart pot.

Bring to boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Stir a few times during the hour.

Remove ham hock and bay leaf.IMG_2705

Add in chopped carrot, onion, celery, garlic, sugar, thyme and chilies.IMG_2702

Bring back to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat and simmer for 1½ hours.  Stirring occasionally during this time.

While the soup is cooking, and once the bone has cooled somewhat, cut the meat off the bone.  Discard any fat, skin and bone.  Chop the meat into bite sized pieces.IMG_2691

Add the meat to the soup while it’s simmering.

When the soup is nearing the end of it’s second stage of cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.IMG_2709

Once it has melted, add in the flour, stirring while the flour cooks and thickens with the butter.

IMG_2712

IMG_2713

Slowly add in one ladleful of the soup.IMG_2715

Stir to incorporate and thicken.

Add in a second ladleful.

Stir to incorporate and thicken.IMG_2716

Add in a third ladleful.

Stir to incorporate and thicken, this binds the soup, which stops it from separating.IMG_2718

Carefully add the roux into the soup in the pot, stirring thoroughly.IMG_2722

Let the soup continue cooking for another 15 minutes, as it thickens.  Stirring occasionally.

Season to taste with salt.

Serve.IMG_2735

Vegan Option: Omit ham.  Use 4 cups vegetable stock with 4 cups water instead of 8 cups water.  Use margarine instead of butter for the roux.

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