Pea & Ham Soup

15 ml sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely grated or sliced
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
750 g smoked pork (like Kassler rib or Eisbein)
1.5 litre prepared chicken stock
3 bay leaves
500 ml dried green split peas
2 – 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-cm cubes
Worcester sauce
ground nutmeg
ground white pepper


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until soft and golden. Add the smoked pork, stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 90 minutes or until the pork is tender.

Meanwhile, place the peas in a second large saucepan and completely cover with cold water – at least 1.5 litres. Do not add any salt or salty ingredient – the salt will prevent your peas from becoming soft and tender. Now bring the peas to a boil and skim off any foam that appears on the surface. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes or until the peas are tender and disintegrated. But you need to watch it (peas tend to boil over ferociously and they also tend to catch, spoiling the whole idea of serving pea soup for dinner) and stir and replace the water when and if needed.

When the pork is tender, remove the saucepan from the heat and lift the pork out of the stock. Remove any bones and fatty rinds and cut the meat into small dice. If you like little pieces of spek (lard) in your soup, cut the fatty skin of the pork also in small dice. Discard the bone and return the diced pork to the stock. Also add the peas with its cooking liquid and then add the potatoes and stir well. At this stage you can add more water or chicken stock if you want a thinner soup. Just be a little careful of stock cubes as they tend to be salty. Rather add water at this stage if you need to and season the soup to taste with the Worcester sauce, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Return the saucepan to the heat, bring the soup to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Remove from heat and season to taste with the Worcester sauce, ground nutmeg, salt and ground white pepper.

Serve with fresh, crisp croutons, diced plain or Parma ham and buttered light rye bread or crusty rolls.

Serves 8 or more

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