Monday 3 March 2014

The half green pea

Last week we bought a ham hock (jarret de porc demi-salé) which I cooked in the usual way - lob it into a saucepan, cover it with cold water, bring it to the boil, throw the water away, cover it with water again but this time add a bayleaf and five white peppercorns, back to the boil and cook for 20 minutes per pound plus 20 minutes. The following day the cooking water was a wibbly jelly. A pan of ham stock is just begging to be made into pea and ham soup. No, no, such piteous cries! What no green split peas? We didn't need to go as far as the Bio co-op (the All-Green Pea) to buy some - the Intermarché at Descartes provided pois cassés verts - half green peas. The organic ones looked much the same and cost twice as much.

Note the lack of an accent on the capital E in "Cassés" - a new-fangled idea I can't get used to!

No need for a recipe, says Tim, just lob the lot in. So here's our recipe (for six servings).

1 litre jellied ham stock (or what you have) in which a ham hock has been cooked with 1 bayleaf and 5 white peppercorns

500 g green split peas
½ teaspoon to 1 dessert spoon ground black pepper (depending on how much you like pepper)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon English mustard powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Water/milk/single cream or liquid crême fraiche to dilute as necessary (some of each in this case)
1 handful fresh sage, chopped

Bring the stock to the boil. Add the split peas and a little more water. Stir and cook for 30-40 minutes (according to the packet), stirring occasionally and adding water if shipwrecks are sighted. When the peas are cooked, add the spices and some milk, and blend using a whizzy stick. You can add the sage at this point, or use it as a garnish if you prefer. Dilute further to the texture you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Bring back to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes. Serve garnished with a swirl of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of chopped sage.

Half green pea soup, with bread, digestives* and cheese
Wash up immediately as this dries like wallpaper paste!

[* A family thing... sables anglais go extremely well with blue cheese... here served with some "chevre bleu"... or equally well with Albert's Bench [Forme d'Ambert] or a brebis bleu... in my Dad's case, he'd have had Blue Stilton... and some bottled stem ginger on the side ... syrup rinsed off! Tim.]


Jean said...

At least, it looks and sounds delicious, and I can almost smell it by reading the recipe!
I'm pleased to see you have a leaflet about the village vide grenier next to it on the table!

Speaking of blue cheese.......
Where did you get your chevre bleu? I got some in the supermarket, probably SuperU, last summer and it was delicious. I have looked for it many times since and couldn't find it anywhere.

Tim said...

The BlooGoat come from the cheese'n'sossij lady on t'village market...
it isn't as sticky as Albert's Bench...
nor as dry as Stilton....
and it IS delishuss!!
[She also does Descartes on a Sunday...
with a very nice bread stall just behind her...
now, there's a good combination]

GaynorB said...

I like the sound of this soup. We eat a lot of soup in the winter and it's good to ring the changes.