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Smoked ham hock and pea soup

By January 06, 2021 , , , ,

This is my take on a traditional pea and ham soup. Many recipes will use dried split peas, I've gone for frozen peas which have a sweetness which I find contrasts quite nicely against the smoky saltiness of the ham. The soup requires a bit of time and effort if you are going to cure and smoke the ham yourself but I think it's worth the effort. For this recipe I've chosen ham hock, but shoulder or neck will work just as well. 

If you are planning on curing and smoking the ham hock yourself then give yourself at least 10 days before you make the soup.
For this recipe I used a 1kg ham hock with the skin removed and excess fat trimmed off

Don't throw away the fat or the skin, render the fat down and store in an airtight container in the fridge to use when frying and crisp the skin in the oven and make tasty crackling for snacks

Curing process
30g salt to 1kg of meat
I used a mix of 15g of celery salt and 15g normal table salt
Rub all over the hock and vacuum pack
Place in the fridge for 7 days
After the allotted time, remove from the vacuum pack and rinse off the excess salt
Place in the fridge uncovered and allow to air dry for at least 24 hours, I use a cooling rack which allows the air to circulate underneath

I used a mixture of apple and hickory smoking dust and cold smoked it for 6 hours 
Once you have finished smoking, place the hock in an airtight container in the fridge for 36 hours to allow the smoke flavour to settle

1kg smoked ham hock
1 onion quartered
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
2 cloves
1 carrot roughly cut
1 leek roughly cut
3 cloves garlic bruised to release the oils

Place the above ingredients in a pan and cover with water
Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 hours until the meat starts coming away from the bone
Remove the ham hock and strain the stock, reserve 2 litres of the stock to make the soup

For the soup
1 onion chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
2 potatoes thinly sliced
700g ham hock meat, remove the fat, skin and bone
400g frozen peas or fresh garden peas when in season
2 litres of stock
2 sprigs of thyme finely chopped
20g Crème fraîche  

Sauté the onion and garlic until soft
Add all the ingredients except the peas and bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes
Add the peas and simmer for another 5 minutes
Once cooked place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth
Stir through the crème fraiche 

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