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Split Pea Soup with Ham and Celeriac

Pea and ham soup is a famous English farmhouse dish that dates back to the Middle Ages. Water is the only liquid added, as the ham makes its own stock while cooking. The meat may be soaked overnight in cold water and a little milk to help draw out the salt. Substitute celery for the celeriac if you wish.
Preparation time : 20 minutes,
Cooking time : 2 ~ 2 1/2 hourS,
Calories per serving: 225

ingredients

serves 8
1 smoked ham knuckle
1 lb (450 g) yellow or green split peas
1 medium onion
1 large carrot
8 oz (225 g) celeriac
Few sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper

method

1. Wash the split peas thoroughly in a sieve or colander to remove any dust and grit. Finely chop the onion, and finely dice the carrot and celeriac.

2. Drain the ham, if soaked, and place in a large saucepan with 3 pints (1.7 litres) of water and all the ingredients except the pepper.

3. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, then cover and simmer for about 2 hours. Stir frequently and add extra water if necessary. Alternatively, cook the ham for 1 hour in a pressure cooker.

4. Stick a skewer into the ham to check if it is tender. Cook for a further 30 minutes if required.
5. Remove the ham from the saucepan. Allow the soup to cool and the fat to rise to the surface. Discard the fat.

6. If you are adding the ham back to the soup, discard all the fat and bones and chop the meat finely, or shred by sticking a fork in the ham and tearing it with another fork.

7. Season with pepper to taste, reheat gently and serve.

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