A cupcake can be like a kiss on the cheek from your son. A cookie can be like a high-five from your best friend. A bowl of chilli can be like a belly laugh with the person you love. This soup is like a big, long hug from your mum.
Pea and Ham Soup
500g green split peas
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 large ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 slick of celery, chopped
1 large potato, diced
2.5 litres of water
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Put the split peas into a large bowl of cold water (make sure the water covers the peas by at least 5cms) and add the bicarbonate of soda. Leave to soak overnight.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots and celery and sweat the vegetables over a low-medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the water and then the ham hock. The water should completely cover the hock, if it doesn't add a little more.
Thoroughly drain and rinse the soaked peas and add them to the pot along with the potatoes, thyme and bay leaves. Bring it to the boil, then reduce to simmer and cook gently for an hour. Check the seasoning and add sea salt flakes and/or freshly ground black pepper if needed.
Remove the hock, thyme and bay leaves. Rest the hock until it is cool enough to handle, then shred the meat, discarding the bones, fat, sinew and skin.
Take about 2 cups of the soup out of the pot and blitz in a blender until it is totally smooth. Add this smooth puree back to the pot with the rest of the soup along with the shredded meat. Check the seasoning again.