Simply Simon’s…Split pea and ham hock soup

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Actor, writer, director, producer and television presenter, Simon Delaney has a genuine passion for food – a passion which saw him make the final of Celebrity MasterChef 2017.

Simon loves diner food and the fact that day or night, summer or winter, you can have your favourite comfort food dish, whenever you want it. SIMPLY SIMON’S, his new cookbook, is all about choice and delicious, comforting food – whatever you want, whenever you want it.

Simply-Simon_s

SPLIT PEA AND HAM HOCK SOUP

This is my type of cooking – a one-pot wonder, almost. It’s a winter warmer, full of flavour, it’s easy to make, and easy on your pocket too. Ham hocks are what I use for this recipe; they are so easy to get from your butcher, and not expensive at all. Delish.

Serves 4

4 ham hocks

1 tbsp olive oil

1 inch chunk of ginger, peeled

1½ medium onions, 1 diced and the remaining ½ as large chunks

5 carrots, 1 whole and peeled, remainder diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 tbsp dried thyme

salt and pepper to season

500ml chicken stock

500g split peas

2 tbsp butter

2 slices white bread

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

165g crème fraîche

Pop the ham hocks into a large pot of water (enough to cover the meat) with half an onion, one peeled carrot and the one inch piece of peeled ginger, bring to the boil, and then simmer and cook for two hours. The meat will fall off the bone when cooked. When the ham hocks are ready, remove from the pot and set aside to cool. Don’t discard the bones though, as we’ll use them to flavour our soup.

For the soup, in a large pan, heat the oil and the butter, then add the diced onion, carrots, celery and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the veg start to soften. Then add the chicken stock, ham bones and split peas. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the peas are soft – this will take around 30–45 minutes.

Make your croutons while this is cooking. Simply dice the bread into bite-size cubes, put them onto a baking tray, and sprinkle with some salt and a drizzle of oil. Pop them into the bottom of the oven at 160 degrees, and bake until the croutons are golden (it should take about 5–7 minutes).

When the soup is cooked, remove the ham bones. Take half of the liquid out, blitz it in your food processor and then return it to the rest of the soup in the pot. With your ham now cool, shred it with a couple of forks and put into the soup, but hold a little back to dress the bowl when serving. Add salt and pepper to taste, and a little lemon juice.

To serve, pour the soup into bowls and garnish with the shredded ham and croutons. Drizzle a little crème fraiche around the ham. Enjoy!

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