Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ham season

'Tis the season of left over ham- and there really is only so much 'ham on toast' & 'ham & egg pie' that one can handle. In addition, I would be very surprised if some of us couldn't do with a lighter meal here and there after the many indulgences of Christmas and the New Year. 
So what to do with all that luscious left over ham-y goodness?
Simple answer- peas are in season!- And so springs forth the answer of 'pea & ham soup'. But this is not your run of the mill split pea soup- this is what happens when the Christmas ham needs a new home and fresh shelled peas are looking for company.
This particular pea & ham soup was originally inspired by the recipe in Stephanie Alexander's 'The Cooks Companion', but has taken on a feel of its own with the addition of lemon zest and lettuce among other things.

Zesty Pea & Ham Soup- chilled.
1 large onion (diced)
1 bay leaf
2 large cloves of garlic (smashed)
half a sweet potato (diced)
1/3 head of iceberg lettuce (shredded)
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
cracked black pepper to taste
salt flakes to taste
3 tablespoons fresh thyme (roughly chopped)
300 grams peas (fresh shelled)
Bulleted List3 small potatoes (diced)
Left over ham pieces (skin/fat/bone- whatever needs rescuing)
3 liters water

In a large pot bring the water to boil and then add all ingredients. Bring back to the boil and then simmer with the lid askew for 
around an hour, until all vegetables are nice and soft.
Remove bay leaf (and any ham bones or pieces of skin that you wish to discard) and puree the vegie mix until the texture is even and silky.
Test for seasoning, garnish with any other left over pieces of ham and extra lemon zest.
Serve hot, with toast or croutons.
This version is also delicious served cold on a hot Aussie summer day with a sprig of mint on top.

There is something so magical about the vibrance of fresh green peas. They look as though they are trying to promise nourishment through colour alone! I can't avoid a sense of joy when I see them bubbling away in the pot.  
A happy, healthy and vibrant New Year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The page & content look great.
When I read it it's like I'm in the kitchen with you but at my place.
Keep it up.........