A joke that always get a laugh in our house is, “What’s the difference between popcorn and pea soup? Anyone can pop corn”. Yes, I know its lame but it raises at least a smile every time. Not too long ago I found a recipe for Bredasdorp pea soup from a travel magazine or something and every time I make it, I tweak it a little to my liking. A recipe is just a guideline isn’t it…?
The recipe says to just chuck everything into the pot and let it boil for two hours but there are obvious issues with this. Yes, I’m sure the writer’s grandmother has done exactly that for the past 50 years but all it takes is a few easy tweaks to get the best out of the ingredients to take it from mmmm to yum.
For one thing, since it is a ham and pea soup, if you just throw the meat in without browning, you are essentially boiling the meat with the rest of the ingredients. While this is perfectly edible, browning the meat with the onions and garlic just takes it to another level. Allowing it to brown a bit gives you a good excuse to deglaze the pan with some white wine/stock before throwing everything else into the pot. Another issue I had with the recipe was the fact that when they said, “throw all the ingredients into the pot” the ingredients list included salt and most of us know that if you add salt to the water you are cooking any form of legume in, it automatically gives the split pea a hard coating and you can boil it until the cows come home but it just won’t become soft and mushy (which is preferred in a soup).
Pea and ham Soup
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
100g bacon (chopped or use bacon bits)
1 large potato,peeled and cubed
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
300g shin (I just use stewing/potjiekos pork)
100ml white wine/stock
1 packet dried split peas, rinsed and drained
1 tin processed peas (it has to be processed peas) rinsed and drained
1.5 litres of water
15ml each tomato sauce, Worchester sauce, vinegar
Salt and black pepper about 10 minutes before turning the stove off
Heat oil in a large pot. Brown 1st 6 ingredients. Deglaze pan with about 100ml white wine/stock. Allow to cook off before adding split and processed peas. Add 1.5l cold water and sauces with vinegar. Allow to boil for about 10 minutes. Scum will float to the surface. Skim foam off the surface and discard. Lower temperature of the stove and allow to simmer gently for 2 hours. Near the end of the cooking time, check seasoning and adjust with salt and black pepper to taste. Snuggle under the covers and enjoy with some fresh bread.