Bread, SoupAlison Lambert

PEA AND HAM SOUP

Bread, SoupAlison Lambert

Luckily it has been cold and wet down here over the past few days.  It gave me a great excuse to use the ham bone from our Christmas ham.  Now not only do i have pea and ham soup for my family, but also for my parents and brother in-law.  It feels very satisfying using up the last of the Christmas left overs, and very thrifty as well.

PEA AND HAM SOUP WITH SODA BREAD




2 cups green or yellow split peas, washed well
8 cups water
1 ham hock or ham bone
2 bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 leek, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups frozen or fresh peas
Crème fraiche (optional)
Mint leaves

Place the, water, ham hock, 2 carrots and half the onion and half the leek, with the bay leaves into a large pot. Cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is almost falling off the bone.
Carefully strain the stock (liquid) into another large pot or bowl and then transfer into a large pot. Retrieve the ham hock and shred off the meat and remove any chewy bits. Keep aside for later.
Put the stock back onto the heat and add the remainder carrots, onion and leeks. Add the split peas and cook gently for about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Do not season until the peas are tender.
When the peas are tender add the fresh or frozen peas and cook for a couple of minutes as you want the freshness and vibrancy in your soup.
Either use a hand blender or carefully processor until the desired consistency. It is up to you whether you would like smooth or a little more texture!
Add the ham meat and check for seasoning and serve if desired with a dollop of crème fraiche and a couple of mint leaves.




SODA BREAD
450g Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
200-300ml buttermilk or sour milk

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, add 200ml of the buttermilk, using a bread and butter knife, cut and stir the wet liquid into the dry ingredients.  If it is looking too dry add some more.  You are looking for a slightly sticky dough.  It is vital that you don't over work the dough, or you will end up with a tough, heavy bread.
As soon as the mixture has combined, turn it out onto a slightly floured surface and work the dough every so gently.  Roll or pat out into a 4cm thick disc, cut a cross into the dough's surface (it will let the dough expand without cracking the surface).
 Put onto a lightly floured baking tray and bake in a preheated oven 200C. Bake for about 20 minutes and slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and wrap in a tea-towel.  Best served warm with lashing of butter!


soda bread and butter....