Pea and ham soup

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A true classic British recipe, pea and ham soup is hearty comfort food at its simplest. Steven Doherty's traditional pea and ham soup recipe is made with bacon knuckle (cured ham hock) which adds intense flavour to the stock, before being slowly cooked with green split peas for a thick, meaty soup. The ham can even be cooked the day before to allow the stock flavour to intensify even further.

First published in 2016
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Ham stock

Pea and ham soup


Begin by cooking the knuckle. Place in a deep pan and cover completely with cold water. Bring to a simmer over a medium-high heat, skimming any residue that appears on the surface of the liquid
Add the whole celery stick, onion, carrot and 1 of the bay leaves. Bring everything back up to a simmer and cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes, topping up the water if needed during cooking
After this time, remove the knuckle and set aside to cool. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve and weigh out 1.75l to use later as stock for the soup (any leftover stock can be frozen for future use)

Add the roughly chopped celery and onion to a food processor and blitz to a fine pulp

Place a large heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat and melt the butter. Add the celery and onion mixture and allow to sweat down, without colour, for 4–5 minutes
Add the green split peas and continue to cook for another 3–4 minutes, then add the strained ham stock, remaining bay leaf, chopped garlic and a pinch of ground white pepper and salt
Bring up to the boil, then simmer for 2 hours and 30 minutes until the peas are fully cooked through. Leave the soup chunky for a rustic texture or blitz with a hand blender to create a smooth soup
Shred or chop the meat from the cooked knuckle into fine strips. Serve the hot soup garnished with the ham with some crusty bread on the side
  • crusty bread, to serve
First published in 2016

Working as the head chef at Le Gavroche in the 1980s cemented Steven Doherty's status as a legendary chef, but after falling in love with Cumbria he kick-started the gastropub scene in the county.

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