pea & ham hock soup – serves 4

1kg frozen peas
large bunch of flat leaf parsley
65g unsalted butter
1 echallion shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
200g unsmoked streaky bacon lardons

1 ham hock
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
sprig of thyme
sprig of parsley
8 peppercorns

a drizzle of basil oil

Make the stock. Place the ham hock in a pan with the carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and peppercorns. Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Carefully remove the ham hock to a plate and shred the meat when it is cool enough to handle. Strain the stock into a jug, discarding the vegetables.

Melt 25g of butter in a saucepan and add the shallots, garlic and bacon. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat until soft but not coloured.

Add the peas, parsley and 750 ml of the stock. Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat

Add the remaining butter. Liquidise thoroughly, in batches if necessary.

Season to taste, then gently re-warm the soup.

Ladle the soup into 4 bowls, add a good pinch of the shredded ham hock in the centre of the bowl and drizzle each bowl with some basil oil.

 

Ham hocks used to be really inexpensive. Not now, though. Too many TV chefs coming up with recipe ideas for them...