My favourite pea and ham soup

Pea and ham soup is probably my favourite soup in the whole wide world. I am a big soup fan in general, but none can rival pea and ham for its lightness, smoothness and simplicity.

Pea and ham soup

Pea and ham soup

I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like this yet. It is another of my mum’s recipes, so perhaps I have a special reverence for it, but any soup that can be ready in less than 40 minutes and needs just four ingredients gets a big tick in my book.

It’s also a great example of a soup that uses a small amount of meat for flavour, rather than as the main event. For aspiring vegetarians like me, these types of recipes are crucial for the weaning phase.

What you need

A knob of butter or 1 tbsp oil

2-3 medium leeks, sliced thinly and washed

150g lardons or bacon chopped into small pieces

500g frozen peas

400ml hot vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it

  1. Take a deep stock pot or soup pan, and heat the butter (or oil) over a low flame. When melted, add the leeks. Cook over a low heat until softened and falling apart.
  2. After about 10 minutes, by which point the leeks should be soft and fragrant but not yet brown, tip in the lardons. Mix well, and cook for another 10 minutes or so.
  3. Once the lardons have started to brown, add the peas and the hot stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes, until the peas are cooked.
  4. After 15 minutes, check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. Now you have a choice. You can either blend the soup straight away (be careful though, it’s HOT); or you can leave to simmer for another half an hour to one hour. The longer you simmer, the sweeter and richer the soup becomes – it just depends on how long you have.
  5. Blend the soup until beautifully smooth.
  6. Serve piping hot with crusty bread and butter. You don’t need anything else.