Pea, mint and ham soup


  • one ham hock. Morrisons usually have them on the butcher’s counter, labelled as “gammon shanks”.
  • 2kg frozen peas (petits pois will make it sweeter)
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • black pepper
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock (I make mine using Swiss bouillon powder)
  • fresh mint – about 25 to 30 leaves to put in the soup plus more to garnish.
  • sour cream
  • Note that you need a stick blender for this recipe. You can use a food processor, but it’s a bit of a faff.


  • Place the ham in a very large pan and cover with cold water. Add the potatoes, celery, shallots, bay leaves and about 15 turns of the pepper mill. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 90 minutes. You will need to turn the ham over a couple of times to ensure that it is evenly cooked and cooked through – if in doubt, let it cook a bit longer.
  • Remove the ham from the stock (leave everything else in the pan). With a sharp knife, remove the skin from the ham and discard. Then remove the meat from the bones, discarding the bones plus any fatty or gristly bits.
  • With two forks, tease the meat apart into small shreds. This should be very easy if you have thoroughly cooked the ham – in fact, sometimes you can just tease it apart with your fingers. Reserve the shredded meat.
  • Remove the bay leaves from the stock and discard them. Then bring the stock back to a gentle simmer.
  • Add roughly 1.5kg of the peas and simmer for 7 or 8 minutes. Then add the mint leaves.
  • Remove from the heat. Blitz the soup with a stick blender until smooth.
  • The resulting soup will be quite thick, so make up the stock and add it, along with the remaining peas. Blitz again until smooth. (If you like your soup very thick, you can leave it as it is. Simply vary the amount of stock and extra peas you add so that you get the consistency you like).
  • Taste. Add extra pepper or mint if necessary.
  • Add the shredded meat back to the soup. You can then cool the mixture and store it in the fridge.
  • To serve, gently reheat the soup. Serve with a swirl of sour cream and a few mint leaves for garnish.




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