I stepped outside of my comfort zone today and bought a ham hock that wasn’t free ranged. Why isn’t it free ranged, I hear you ask? Because free ranged pork or ham hocks are almost impossible to source! While the hunt continues for a reliable source of free ranged pork products, I decided to do Pea and Ham Soup in the slow cooker.
I love slow cooked / crock pot recipes during winter. It’s so easy to toss ingredients into the cooker and forget about it while you go off to work only to become a champion at dinner time by presenting you with mouth-watering food. This is one such recipe.
[ SERVES: 6 | TIME: 6 hours | COST: $8 ]
[ JOES' RATING: 4 / 5 | MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]
1.5 litres vegetable stock
1 600 – 800 gram ham hock
2 onions – chopped finely
1 cup dried green split peas
1 cup dried yellow split peas
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped finely
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Garlic Paste
4 – 6 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Thyme Paste
splash of oil
- Add the oil to a warmed skillet. Add the onions, garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant and browned. Add to the slow cooker.
- Rinse the split peas until the water runs clear, removing tough husks that float during the process. Add to the slow cooker.
- Cut loose fleshy bits from the ham hock revealing as much of the bone as possible. Add both meat, skin and bone to the slow cooker.
- Add the bay leaves to the slow cooker and cover the ingredients with 1 litre of stock.
- Cook on high for 4 – 6 hours or until tender.
- Remove the bay leaves, ham skin and bones before adding the lemon juice and mint leaves.
- Purée the soup in a blender for a smoother soup consistency (optional step).
- Garnish with a spring of mint and serve hot.
- Served with hot crusty rolls, a soup like this is hard to beat on a cold winter night like tonight!
- I like a rustic, chunky soup, so I don’t purée the soup at all. I cook it long enough so the peas dissolve giving it that lovely rich, thick consistency without the need to blitz it.
- Pea and Ham Soup is somewhat of a classic, and I usually like to include some carrots and celery but today the fridge was bare. If you happen to have some on hand, consider including 1 finely chopped carrot and 1 celery sticks to your soup for vitamin contribution and texture.
- Diabetic Note: For some reason, yellow split peas are higher in carbohydrate content than the green version. Having said that, though, there is only about 40 – 50 grams of carbohydrates in this entire pot! If you are a pumper or insulin dependent diabetic, you may need a slice of bread with this meal to increase the carbohydrate content.
- Ethical Note: I wish I didn’t have to resort to using a commercially produced ham hock today but I was limited in options. The use of this commercially produced ham hock gave me some ethical dilemmas and I wanted to walk through them not as justification, but as way of educating. Although ham hocks are considered a waste or by-product of pork farming and are therefore a good ethical choice, animal ethic debates regarding commercially produced pork / intensive farming practices are ever-present. Many animal welfare groups decry such intensive farming practices as cruel and unnecessary. For all of our food options, there are both positive and negative externalities and hidden costs. I urge people as always to become better educated on their meal choices.
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