A really thick and warming winter soup that can be served as a meal in itself. It freezes really well, too.
1kg/2lb 4oz dried green peas or split peas (or a mixture of both)
1kg/2lb 4oz pork shank or leg (on the bone)
2 pigs’ ears (optional)
200g/7oz smoked bacon, cut into cubes
2–3 leeks, sliced
5–7 carrots, sliced
1 celeriac, peeled and cut into cubes
1 head of celery, roughly chopped
3 bay leaves
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, tied with string
1 smoked sausage, sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
dark rye bread
thin slices of fried streaky bacon
Place the dried green peas and/or split peas in water and soak them as directed on the packet.
Put the pork and the pigs’ ears, if using, in a large pan with the smoked bacon, leeks, carrots, celeriac, celery, bay leaves, parsley and salt.
Pour in water to come up to about 2cm/1in below the rim of the pan and gently bring to the boil.
Simmer very gently for about two hours, adding more boiling water as necessary.
Add the soaked peas and the slices of sausage to the soup, bring everything to the boil again and leave to simmer for another 2–3 hours until the peas are soft.
If you want a really thick soup, add only half of the peas to the pan and boil the rest separately until soft, then purée them in a food processor and stir this mixture into the soup.
Remove the pork, ears and parsley. Leave the pork and ears to cool, then remove the meat from the bones and put it back in the soup. Add the fresh chopped parsley and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the soup with dark rye bread and cheese or very thin slices of fried streaky bacon.
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