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Pea and Ham HO HO HOCK soup….

Pea and Ham Soup

New Years Eve Eve: sugar hangover for me, husband sleeping off daytime drinking in bed and kids arguing over the bug in the kitchen. The house smells of boiling ham hock and in my mind’s eye I am fast forwarding a week to when the house will be quiet and it’s just me again and certainly not in my dressing gown at 10 am……I’m going to enjoy the last of the craziness and then look forward to regaining my house again!

A week ago my fridge was filled with 10kgs of Christmas meat, and the ham hock that had been patiently waiting in the fridge was turfed out… room at the inn and sent to sleep in the freezer with the lowly loaves!!

Now the Christmas meat leftovers have now been turned over to the freezer having had three roast dinners in as many days; (awaiting further inspiration) But in the meantime, out comes the ham hock, released from its humble Christmas lodgings… the call for a tasty, hearty, fuss-free soup is needed!

This is an absolute beauty. If you can get the hock in the fridge and waiting, it can be cooked whilst you are doing other things, and then the pea soup is easily made in 20 mins, as it uses fresh rather than split peas. Doing this in stages makes it more fuss-free I think.

There is normally enough hock leftover to freeze for more pea and ham soup or to pimp up a lovely fuss-free veg soup. Cooking the hock in a big enough pan is also a must, as this will make plenty of stock to use for the soup and to freeze. It really makes the fresh pea soup.

This would be great as a starter, could be served in small Chinese rice bowls, canape style or as a hearty lunch after a New Years day walk. At £3.50 a hock…’s a fuss-free price too, and a little goes a long way. Equally, if you still have some Xmas ham left, skip the hock bit and just make the pea soup and warm through the ham when ready to serve!! The true Fuss Free way!!

Pea and Ham Soup
Serves 4

To cook the hock. (Can be done a day or 2 in advance)

1 ham hock
2 onions
1-2 sticks celery
1 leek
2 bay leafs
1 tsp peppercorns
2-3 litres of cold water

1. Put all the ingredients in your largest pan or stockpot. Making sure the ham is mostly covered by water. Top this up as it cooks if needs be.

2. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim off any scum on the top of the pan as it arises and discard.

4. Cook the hock for up to 3 hours (depending on the size of hock) until the ham is easily pulled off the bone and or pulls apart when pinched. I prefer to leave mine longer (sometimes 3 1/2)

5. Strain and keep the stock. Take off the fatty layer of the hock, and then pull the meat off the bone and reserve. Discard the bone and the vegetables.

To make the pea soup.

Knob of butter
1 onion, diced
1 medium potato, approx 200g diced or grated (for speed!)
500g frozen peas or petit pois
1L of ham hock stock

BBC Good Food Pea and Ham Soup

1. Melt the butter in the pan, and add the onion. Cook on a medium heat until soft and translucent.

2. Add the potato, coat in the butter and then add your stock and simmer for 5 minutes until the potato soft.

3. Add the peas, bring back to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes, then blend until smooth.

4. I add the meat to the top of the soup….about 50g per serving. It’s your personal preference, my husband likes less and chopped/shredded fine. I am less fussy 😉

Wishing you all a very happy new year and the very best in 2017! Why not come join the Fuss Free Foodie FB group and let us know where you are and what fuss-free recipes you would like to see next year! Lisa. x

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