This pea & ham soup is one that I have made many a time for "fancy dinners" aka dinner parties. You may think pea & ham soup - heard that many a time and there isn't much "fancy" about that. Well, this one has a bit of a fun, cool, tasty & sexy looking twist!! The soup keeps its beautiful bright keen colour and with the addition of a few other DELICIOUS ingredients, you will want to impress your dinner guests with this one too. Curious? Read on my friend!
BRAISED HAM HOCK
Sounds hard. Well, to be honest, it's SIMPLE. Yes, it does take a little time to do but the results are delicious. You can buy them smoked or "raw" from the butcher shop or supermarket. Simply, place it in a large pot of water with some peppercorns, lemon, bay leaf and dried chili. Bring it to a simmer and then cover slightly with a lid. Let the ham hock cook for about 90 minutes and it will then fall off the bone. It's delicious on top of the soup, in a salad or sandwich.
CAN I USE OTHER HAM?
Of course, that's the beauty of cooking. Substitutes can often be made. Sprinkle some cooked bacon, cold sliced deli ham and/or some leftover Christmas ham (during the season). I personally like the ham hock the best as it has a bit more bite to it and you can have smaller and chunkier bits too but I appreciate time and circumstances can often dictate things.
HOW DO YOU KEEP THE SOUP BRIGHT & GREEN?
Frozen peas are the answer - but read in and see how!
There is nothing worse than going to the trouble of making a delicious pea soup to find it turn all muddy and grey looking. In fact, when I made this a while ago for a catering gig my daughter (at the critical point) decided to climb up on the table, distract me and make me step away from the soup turning it a beautiful dark green. I couldn't use it for the catering gig so off to the shops I went!!
The truth is it's very simple to stop your pea & ham soup turning a darker green colour. Much like when you work with green vegetables you need to cool them down immediately after parboiling them. So, when making this soup you start (like all soups) with the onion, garlic mix, instead of adding the vegetables in add the stock in. Allow the stock to cook for a few minutes and then remove the pot from the pan and using frozen peas add them into the soup. Use a stick blender to blend immediately.
This allows the liquid to cool down and keep the soup a nice bright green colour - simple!
CHOCOLATE IN SOUP - ARE YOU SERIOUS?
100%. I've had a few people look at me sideways when I suggest it to them but honestly, it's great. Freshness from the peas & mint, saltiness from the braised ham hocks and some bitterness from the melted dark chocolate. It balances it out wonderfully. It also makes it look great and doesn't everything taste better with chocolate (and wine!).
HOW LONG WILL PEA & HAM SOUP KEEP?
Once made the soup will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge. For me, 3 days is when it starts to deteriorate. So, if you think you won't eat it in that time frame - read on to the next heading 😉
The ham hock keeps for a similar time frame too.
CAN YOU FREEZE PEA & HAM SOUP?
Sure, can! There is no milk or cream in the soup which makes it easier to freeze. Not that you can't freeze soup with milk or cream in it but they tend to take on a slightly grainy texture which takes away from the beautiful silky smooth soup. When freezing the soup I would do so before adding the chocolate and also freeze the braised ham hocks in a separate ziplock bag!
MORE SOUP OPTIONS
Feeling like more soup? Then check out these alternative options from myself and fellow food bloggers
Cauliflower Bacon Soup by Yours Truly
Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup by Alexandra Cook of 'It's Not Complicated Recipes'
Potato, Leek & Black Pudding Soup by Yours Truly
Carrot & Red Lentil Soup by Robyn Jones of 'Mrs Jones Kitchen'
Rocket & Broccoli Soup by Yours Truly
Healthy Vegetable Soup by Sally Aleckson of 'Eight Forest Lane'
Coconut Corn Soup by Yours Truly
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!!
- 1.5 kg frozen peas
- 1.5 liters stock veg or chicken
- 1 cloves garlic crushed
- 1/2 brown onion diced
- 5 g mint
- 30 g butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ham hock
- 1/2 lemon
- 6 peppercorns optional
- 1 dried chili optional
- 1 bay leaf optional
- 4-6 tbsp cream
- mint leaves
- 50 g dark chocolate melted
- Place the ham hock in a saucepan with water, lemon & spices. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 90 minutes or until meat is falling off the bone
- Remove meat and place on a baking tray, allow to cool to handle and then separate meat from the bone/fat
- In a saucepan sweat the onion & garlic in the butter and oil for 2-3 minutes or until soft
- Add stock and cook for a further 3 minutes
- Remove from the heat, add frozen peas and using a stick blender blend until smooth
- Pass the soup through a sieve to remove any lumps
- Place as much/little soup as you want in a bowl
- Add a small handful of ham hocks to the centre of the soup, drizzle with a tbsp cream and melted chocolate and finish with a few mint leaves
- large saucepan x 2
- chef knives
- chopping board
- stick blender
- if you like a chunkier soup then feel free to not sieve it but I am more of a smoother soup fan - personal preference!