Split pea and ham soup with ham and cheddar toasties
Pea and ham soup is a classic winter warmer. Here we’ve nabbed a little of the ham hock to serve on the side in the form of cheesy toasted sandwiches.
- 40 g butter, coarsely chopped
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 ham hock (about 1.2kg)
- 2 1/4 cups (500g) dried green split peas
- 3 cups frozen baby green peas
- 1 cup (firmly packed) baby spinach
- 1/2 cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup (firmly packed) mint, plus extra to serve
- finely grated rind and juice 1/2 lemon, or to taste
Ham and cheddar toasties
- softened butter, for spreading
- 8 slices white bread (use gluten-free if required)
- dijon mustard*, to taste
- 1/2 cup grated vintage cheddar
- Heat butter in a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Add onion, fennel and garlic and sauté until tender (about 6-8 minutes). Add ham hock, cover with cold water (about 4 litres), bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Half-cover with a lid and cook until ham is falling from the bone (1-1½ hours). Remove hock, cool, then discard skin and bone. Shred meat and reserve.
- Meanwhile, add split peas to the stock and simmer until very tender (45-60 minutes). Add baby peas and simmer until bright green (1-2 minutes). Stir in spinach, parsley and mint to just wilt, then purée with a hand-held blender (or in batches in a blender) until smooth. Stir in lemon rind and juice, season to taste and keep warm.
- For the toasties, heat a sandwich press or toastie maker. Butter bread, then place half the slices butter-side down on a work surface. Spread with mustard to taste, top with ham hock (you won’t need all the meat; add remainder to soup), then cheese. Season and sandwich with remaining bread butter-side up. Toast until golden brown (3-4 minutes). To serve, scatter soup with extra mint and serve hot with sliced toasties.