Taking center stage at this year’s Yule festivities was a very Germanic looking baked ham. The roast beast has been drawn and quartered, the plates licked clean, and there is still enough meat left to fill a thousand ham ‘n marmalade sandwiches.
Also still loitering on the Christmas platter is the bone de le jambon, and from this discarded piece of porcine posterior I got an idea… The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea.
What better way to celebrate a cold, lazy, post-Christmas afternoon than a bowl of soup? Chopped ham and split peas will warm the insides with savouriness and a “stick to ‘yer insides” texture. If the broth is made from boiling the ham bone the finished soup doubles up on depth. This is a classic use of leftovers and a perfect pottage to slurp by the fire after chopping wood in the January cold.
Happy New Year!
Ham Stock(Makes 2 ½-3 L of stock, or just over ¾ of a Gallon)
Okay, first we have to make the broth for the soup, a porky foundation of deep funkiness. So, first thing is to strip all the meat off of the Christmas ham bone. I have to admit that after the whole X-Mas party thing, I wasn’t completely with it enough to weight the bone, so we’ll just have to imagine that it weighs 1kg, or a couple lbs. Place the bone in a stockpot with chopped onions (375g), celery (120g), carrots (160g), bay leaves, rosemary and black peppercorns. Cover with 5L (1.32 gal) of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer those piggy bits for 4 hours. Strain out the solids and let the stock cool before covering and refrigerating. This stuff lasts about a week in the fridge and can be used for all kinds of things: minestrone, baked beans, braised collards, caldo verde, or…
Split Pea and Ham Soup (Serves 6)
- 1 Tablespoon (14g) Butter
- 1 Medium White Onion (approx. 120g, diced)
- 4 Garlic cloves (13g, chopped)
- 1 Celery Stalk (85g, chopped)
- 1 cup (250ml) Hard Dry Apple Cider (I love Merridale Traditional Cider for this one!)
- 10 ½ cups (2 ½ L) Ham Stock (recipe above)
- 1 ½ cups (about 275g) Potatoes (diced)
- 1 ¾ cups (350g) Dried Green Split Peas (rinsed)
- 2 ¼ cups (about 320g) Meat stripped off of the cooked Holiday Ham (either shredded or cubed)
- Pepper and chopped Fresh Parsley
- Melt butter in a nice big soup pot over medium heat and toss in the onions, garlic and celery. Stir the veg around and sweat e’m for about 3 minutes until soft. Pour in the hard cider and increase the heat, bringing it to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by half, this takes about 4 ½ minutes.
- Pour in the ham stock and bring to a boil. Once it’s nice and rolling along, reduce the heat to a light simmer and add the spuds and split peas. Cover the pot and simmer for an hour, giving the soup a stir every so often. The split peas will expand, and then break down into the stock, mixing with the starches released from the potatoes and creating a thick, rustic texture. If the soup seems to be thickening too much, just add some more stock or water.
- Add the Ham and simmer for another 15 minutes. Let all the flavours marry-up, season with pepper and chopped fresh parsley and serve with a hunk of toasted crusty bread and little arugula tossed in lemon, oil and sea salt.
Music To Cook This To:
The Herbaliser – They Were Seven