When all the festivities and holidays are done and the weather is cold, ones thoughts turn to basic, nourishing foods such as ham and pea soup, known as ‘ertjiesop’ in Afrikaans.
Left-over bones and bits of meat from smoked pork shoulder or leg, are ideal for pea or bean soup – otherwise a smoked ham hock or some bacon. Onions or leaks, celery, split peas and water in a pot, together with the pork, is all one needs to produce a hearty meal with an aroma that welcomes all who enter your home. Serve with crusty seed loaf, rolls or dumplings.
Serves: 6-8 servings
- 1½ cups green split peas
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 onions or large leeks, coarsely chopped
- 6-8 celery sticks and/or celery heart, sliced
- ham bones, hock or bacon
- 4-5 pints (8-10 cups) water
- 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- Sort, and rinse the peas well under cold running water.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and add the onions, celery and pork.
- Stir over high heat for 2-4 minutes.
- Add the peas and water, heat to boiling point, and cover with a lid. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer for 1½-2 hours.
- Remove the bones or hock from the pot and cut away any bits of meat to add to the soup.
- Carefully blend until quite smooth. If using a liquidizer or blender, cool slightly before decanting. An immersion blender works really well for soups.
- Add the lemon juice, and season to taste. The consistency can be adjusted by adding a little water, milk or cream. Heat through well.