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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pea & Ham Soup

This is a favourite soup in our family and I usually make it just the way my mum did. Sometimes I like to make it the dutch way and that is also a rich, thick and very filling soup. I will share both recipes with you. I always use a pressure cooker to make my soup but if you don't have one you will need to cook for at least 2 hours. Some of the old styled cookers do not recommend cooking pea and ham soup in them as they may explode. I can remember as a young girl, my mum using hers always to make it and never having any problems with it. As long as you follow the exact instructions with your cooker, and never fill the cooker over about 3/4 full and you will be okay with using one. I love them as they are so quick and you get the full flavour of the food as well as always being so perfectly cooked. Once you have used one, you will wonder how you ever survived without it.


1 large bacon hock
1 large brown onion
2 carrots
1 large parsnip
3/4 of a small packet of yellow split peas
sea salt and black pepper to taste
fresh parsley - chopped
water to cover to 3/4 way up pressure cooker


Soak the peas in cold water overnight or for at least 8 hours. Dice onion, carrots and parsnip and put in the pressure cooker. Add the drained split peas, the bacon hock and little salt and ground black pepper. Cover with water until your cooker is about 3/4 full. Set pressure cooker on top of stove or hotplate and secure lid. Bring up to pressure and then reduce heat to correct level as stated with your pressure cookers book. Cook for approx 25 minutes or suggested time in the book for pea and ham soup. Turn off the cooker and always let the pressure down before you try to remove the lid. Once the pressure has been removed, take off the lid and remove the bacon hock. It should start to fall away from the bone easily. If it doesn't, it means you haven't cooked it long enough and you may need to cook for another 5 minutes or so. I like to cut the meat up into small pieces and return to the soup. Add the chopped parsley and return cooker to stove to heat through again.Taste for correct amount of seasoning and if needed, add a little more salt and pepper. Serve with some fresh crusty bread.