As the cold sets in here in London, so too does my desire for comfort food. Homemade soups are a great option because you can control exactly what goes in them, they are quick and warming on a cold evening. They also freeze wonderfully so make plenty.
For this recipe I used ham-hock pieces which were delicious. Basically pulled ham pieces off the bone.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 red chili, finely chopped
- 6 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
- 200gm ham hock pieces
- 750gm frozen garden peas
- 2 large pinches of rock salt
- 500ml chicken stock
- 250ml water
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2-3 bay leaves
- toasted pumpkin seeds (sprinkle for serving)
- flat leaf parsley (for serving)
Lightly toast some pumpkin seeds in a small frying pan (no oil). Add salt and pepper and heat them until they are browned and they swell and pop. Set aside to cool.
In a large soup pot heat some olive oil and saute the minced garlic, leek and red onion. When the onion has browned and is nearly transperant, add the chopped chilli, thyme leaves and 100gm of the ham hock pieces. Add lots of freshly ground black pepper and the pinches of salt.
When nicely browned, pour over the stock and water and add the peas. Add the bay leaves and simmer gently. Add 2 tbs of the red wine vinegar. Either transfer the contents of the soup to a food preocessor to blend or using a hand-held blender stick pulse the soup. Leave it with a little texture. Add the final tbs of vinegar and more cracked pepper.
Keep on a gentle heat (if it is too hot or you cook it for too long the peas will turn a brown colour and the soup can look a bit muddy). Meanwhile, in a small frying pan toss around the remaining 100gm ham pieces until they have browned.
Serve the soup in heated bowls and sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds, flat leaf parsley and pieces of the browned ham. Crack pepper and salt over the bowl and serve immediately.