If you’re after some good, hearty comfort food. One of my favourites is ham and pea soup.
I often think that supermarket bacon joints are extremely overpriced. But Sainburys’ Basics range comes to the rescue here. They do 670gm packs of ‘Cooking Bacon’ for £1.10. You need to be selective about the pack you buy as some of them consist of a number of small pieces of bacon and sometimes even slices.
Soak about 150gms of split peas in water overnight. These are usually yellow split peas, you can find green ones in health food stores, but both colours seem to taste the same.
Put the bacon in a large saucepan/stockpot with about two litres of water, an onion (quartered), a leek, a stick of celery (all roughly sliced); add some parsley, thyme, pepper corns and bay leaf. I usually add a sliced carrot, but on this occasion I didn’t have any. Bring to the boil and very gently simmer (until the bacon is really well cooked – so that it falls apart – I cooked mine for about 4 hours (barely simmering)).
When ready, remove the bacon and pull apart into small pieces using two forks.
Strain the stock (throwing away the cooked vegetables). Drain the peas. Chop another onion, and gently fry until soft in a clean pan along with a carrot, a leek and a celery stick (all sliced). Add the peas and the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the peas are cooked (probably about 1.5 hours). If it looks too thick just add some more boiling water. Blend and return to the pan along with some of the pulled bacon. Serve piping hot:
What to do with rest of the ham?
Celeriac remoulade – grated raw celeriac mixed with mayonnaise (with added whole grain mustard, low fat yogurt and lemon juice to taste); scatter with pulled ham – a good starter:
Ham and kale colcannon – mashed potato, sliced leeks cooked in butter, kale (shredded and briefly boiled) and pulled bacon: