In the middle of preparing our yummy food for the Tunbridge Wells Farmers Market @TWBCFrmrsMkt tomorrow (Saturday). During the last couple of weeks many of you have asked us to bring back our seafood chowder, which we did last week. We sold out, but predictably – many of you were disappointed that we had taken our meaty, chunky super-tasty pea and ham soup off the menu in place of the chowder. So this week the pea and ham is back on and even better I’m going to show you how easy this incredibly tasty dish is to make.
I get loads of Deli Truck customers asking how we make the soup so thick and hammy – well this is how.
I’m making 40 portions for the photos below so adjust the amounts to suit your appetite – you will be eating this for a few days.
So grab two ham hocks from your butcher and simmer them with an onion, bay leaf and about 6 pepper corns. Ham hocks are very cheap and sometimes free if you have a good relationship with your butcher – if they are chunky ones like this then you get a lot of good meat as well. They will take about 3 hours until tender and falling off the bone. Take them out of the pot, cool and chop into chunks.
Keep the water the hocks were boiled in for later seasoning. This water will be very very salty so be careful when adding to the soup.
In a large pot put in a good slab of butter, three finely chopped onions and two large garlic cloves. Simmer until cooked then add 3 large potatoes, chopped, 3 bay leaves, ground pepper and a litre of Chicken stock. Boil until potatoes are nearly cooked then add two and a half bags of frozen peas. Bring back to the boil and cook the peas for about 3 minutes. At this stage it looks a little watery – dont worry you’re about to hit the mixture with a blending stick which will transform the dish into a thick unctuous green mixture.
Blend until smooth and thick. (reminds me of a TV presenter I once worked with) Add the chopped ham hock – allow to simmer for a minute or two and then taste. If it needs salt use the “ham hock simmering water” as your seasoning. Then add the remaining half packet of peas into the soup for texture, taste and season again if necessary. It should be so thick that you can stand a spoon up in it.
NOTE: There will always be a debate about frozen/tinned versus fresh. I think there are really only three things that are better pre-packed. One is frozen peas because they are snap frozen only hours after being picked and really do maintain the flavour and colour better than sitting for hours in a truck on the way to a supermarket. Secondly – tinned Italian tomatoes, you can never get them as intense and fully flavoured fresh in the UK. And thirdly puff pastry – who wants to make that every time, considering the quality of the bought product which is now so good.