I often reminisce as to the joys of my Granny’s pea soup with fried bread.
I used to love walking into the house on a cold, bleak day to the smell of gammon bubbling in its cauldron of yellow split peas. If truth be told, when done well, pea soup is probably one of my favourite dishes of all time.
I remember we’d dry our rain-wet hair and crowd around the dining table. Snuggled round a small, circular table, elbows touching, necks down plunging spoons into the golden, lava-hot, gloopy, yellow split pea soup we’d share our morning’s routines.
The delicious chunks of gammon having imparted their flavour and savouriness to the mixture, which falling apart added great flavour and substance to the dish. Scooping ham and soup on slices of fried bread is what made this soup a meal.
My Granny would shallow fry a slice of white bread per person – crusts and all – and then slice it on the diagonal. This, dipped into the thick pea soup was utter heaven to me.
I love yellow split pea and ham soup so much, that my shock at once being given green pea and ham soup by my great aunt was an unfortunate disappointment; flavoursome though it was! But my all time favourite pea soup tale was when I was a vegetarian (now that I’ve told you I may have to kill you!) and I’d returned from university and my Granny had made my favourite dish and assured me that she hadn’t added the ham but you could see the pink gammon flecks throughout the entire bowl! I think she then tried to offer me a cheese sandwich with a very thin slice of ham…
Admittedly, my Granny was right; there is no point in having pea soup without the gammon. It’s the gammon that imparts a full on rounded flavour and seasons the soup with great depth. Sometimes, pieces of the gammon flake off in the cooking and get blitzed into the soup adding to the savoury baconness!
A different kind of meal to be had at this time of year where everything is either a turkey dinner or Christmas table leftovers.
At this time of year I always like to make a glazed ham (as many of you do too). As always, I buy a large piece to ensure there are leftovers but there’s only so many cold-cuts with chutneys to be had. With the rain pouring down outside, I want something warm and comforting instead of cold-cuts, so why not add your already cooked ham to a pot of bubbling yellow split peas to make glorious pea soup with its volcanic ferocity warming you through these cold and dark nights.
Pea Soup with Fried Bread
Yellow split pea soup is so easy to recreate you can cook the gammon in the soup itself or add cooked ham pieces to the final soup. Either way – this is a delicious thick soup that like a hot water bottle warms and comforts you. Fried bread takes this to another level but pan fried croutons or the healthier oven variety convert this into a satisfying main course.
I keep this really simple:
1 cup of split peas, 1 medium onion, slice of pumpkin to add colour and sweetness and a stock cube. Uncooked gammon or leftover boiled ham to taste.
1st: Cut the onion and pumpkin into pieces and fry in some oil until the onion becomes soft.
2nd: Add the split peas and crumble in the stock cube. Stir well and add the gammon/boiled ham.
3rd: Top up with enough water to cover the gammon – at least 3 times more water to split peas. Boil for 35mins or until the gammon is cooked. Season to taste.
4th: Remove any large chunks of gammon and blitz the soup. Flake any gammon pieces and add them to individual bowls.
5th: Fry slices of plastic white bread in hot oil. Slice on the diagonal and serve up.