The Post Christmas Ham

Ham is a wonderful product, a versatile meat that is slightly salty, with a smoked over tone. It has many culinary friends, sweet, sour and savoury and has an almost endless of uses.

But……

There comes a time towards the end of the Christmas festive season where the line is drawn, where no amount of grilling, slicing or condiment will make you eat another mouthful of that double smoked leg ham.

It’s time to re purpose that tired leg of ham.

Try adding 1/2 cup of ham chucks to the Chorizo and Pumpkin Frittata for a quick mid week dinner.

But the ultimate re purposing leg ham recipe combines the meaty bone with peas and pulses. Nothing is left out or wasted.

Peas and pulses have been long time friends and favourites of our humble ham and most famously the combination can be found in a soup.

Pea and ham soup is a great way of reusing an almost exhausted Christmas leg ham. Once the soup is finished you can indulge in a delicious hearty meal now and portion some up and store away in the freezer for later. It’s summer here where I am so the soup will be most welcomed in the next few months when the hinterland chilled air sneaks down the mountain.

pea & ham soup_1

pea & ham soup_2

The addition of baby peas in the recipe has two benefits, the first is to add sweetness to the dish and the second is to add a luminous hue to a sometimes insipid looking soup. Fresh mint garnish adds a freshness without any dominance. The curry powder compliments the flavours and adds a depth to the dish.

Pea and Ham Soup

30g Butter
1 Onion sliced
2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
1 leg ham bone (or smoked ham hock)
2 cups green split peas
3 cups frozen baby peas
salt and pepper
1 tsp curry powder
1 sprig of mint

In a large Saucepan (big enough to hold the leg bone) melt the butter over a medium/low heat. Add the sliced onions and sweat until softened about 7 minutes add garlic and saute for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cover the split peas with water and allow to soak.

Add the leg ham bone and cover with water (approx 2 1/2 – 3 liters of water), bring to a simmer and reduce heat, cooking until the ham meat falls from bone about 1 1/2 hrs.

Once the ham has cooked, remove the bone and meat and allow to cool.

Drain the split peas and then add to the saucepan, cooking until the pulses are soft around 45 mins.

Meanwhile, remove the meat from the bones and shred. Discard the bones.

When pulses are cooked add 2 cups of the baby peas and cook for 10 minutes.

Blend the soup until smooth and place back onto the heat.

Add the shredded ham (reserving some for garnish optional) and the remaining cup of baby peas and cook until ham and peas are heated through.

Serve in bowls topped with some shredded ham and finely shredded mint leaves.

pea & ham soup_3

And the notes…..

If you don’t have a ham bone you can purchase one from any good deli or simply replace with a smoked ham hock.

Also if you don’t have baby peas just use regular frozen peas.

Also you could freeze the ham bone and make the soup later when you have a craving or make the soup now and freeze for later. I personally make the soup now, soup portions take up less room in the freezer and then when I have the craving I can satisfy it immediately.

This is a truly fantastic recipe for using every possible morsel off the ham bone including the skin and the bone itself.

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