Friday, 18 February 2011

Pea and hock soup

This recipe comes from my BFF, Lynda Choice. Our two families spent a lot of time together when we were living in Cape Town. We also often wound up spontaneously eating together about once a week. Lynda and I would be working on something together, and get totally caught up in what we were doing. We would fetch the kids from school and go back to her house to carry on with whatever-it-was. At some point, I would phone John and tell him not to bother going home after work, but to come to the Choice's house instead. We would eat together, bath our kids together and then put our kids in Mark and Lynda's bed until we were ready to leave, at which point, we would carry two sleeping boys to the car and take them home.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I miss the easy fellowship of that relationship!

Watching Mark and Lynda in the kitchen together was most entertaining. They cooked as a tag team. Their kitchen was tiny, and neither of them is sylph-like, but they moved around each other like Morecambe and Wise in that most famous sketch. Lynda would get things going and Mark taste this, check on that, and make suggestions all the while ("Babe, this needs some X"; "Lyndie, are you going to put some Y in the such-and-such?"), which Lynda took completely in her stride. If John had tried that, I'd have probably whacked him over the head with a 'paplepel' (it translates as 'porridge spoon', but that does it no justice whatsoever).

Anyhoo, this is Lynda's pea and hock soup recipe (more or less), it makes a large quantity!

1 whole (small) smoked pork hock or eisbein - these are difficult to come by in the UK, and quite expensive, so I tend to have to make do with a bacon roast (about 1kg), but it is a poor substitute
Whole bag of green split peas (about 500g)
1 can peas (optional - I tend to leave these out)
125ml pearl barley
1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1litre chicken stock
2 bay leaves

  • Basically, it's a case of just bung everything in a large saucepan and cover generously with water - the peas will absorb a lot of water as they cook. You don't need any salt, because the meat is full of the stuff.
  • Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. If you have a pressure cooker, about half an hour to 45 minutes at pressure will do the trick.
  • Remove the meat joint, chop it up into bite-sized pieces and return them to the saucepan.
  • Serve with crusty bread - preferably one of those tear-n-share loaves with bits of onion or sundried tomatoes in them.

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