This is such a delicious, hearty, no non-sense recipe, perfect for rainy days. And for that kind of comfort food, I always trust in the one and only Jamie Oliver. When it comes to unpretentious, simple cooking, he knows what he’s doing.
Because simple is great, but without the right ingredients and guidance, it’s easy to take a wrong turn and just end up with bland.
So along with my Jamie Oliver cookbooks, I keep a small list of go-to ingredients in the house at all times, and they rarely let me down.
No matter what the dish, I can almost always depend on lemon, maldon salt, and good quality olive oil to bring a dish together in peaceful, (lemony, salty) harmony.
(I know this kind of looks like baby food, but looks can be deceiving, I promise.)
- 3 celery sticks, trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
- 1 pound dried yellow or green split peas, washed
- 250 grams basic deli ham (I used black forest)
- 6.5 cups stock (chicken or veg, whatever you’ve got)
- Sea salt
- Cracked black pepper
- Olive oil
Season the onions, but watch the salt on this recipe. With the stock and the ham, it gets nice and salty on its own, so don’t get too sodium-happy until the end when you’ve tasted it. Turn the heat down a little and simmer away for about 10 minutes, until soft, but not browned.
Add your washed peas, pour in all your stock, and bring to a boil. This recipe called for chicken stock, which I didn’t have. But I had a batch of simple veg stock, and some very rich lamb stock, so I used a combo of those.Â I figure chickens falls somewhere between vegetables and lambs on the food chain. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, put the lid on your pan, and cook for about 50 minutes.
The recipe calls for just a big, old 9 oz piece of ham, which gets added at this stage in the cooking process. You would then take it out later and pull it apart with tongs, chopping it up, and stirring in the shredded ham at the end. I’m sure this adds to the overall flavour of the soup by cooking the ham in the stock the whole time, so if you’re going for a shop, why not get a nice ham hock.
You could also just do a plain split pea soup, and leave out the ham altogether.
Once the peas are nice and soft, roughly mash them up with a potato masher, making it soupy, but also leaving a nice texture. If you’re doing the lazy ham method like me, you can stir in your chopped ham now.Â Have a slurp to check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve this up in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, a piece of buttered toast, and a dollop of good quality mustard* on the side. I can’t take credit for this last minute add-on (praise be to Jamie O, as usual), but it adds an amazing little kick. Just dunk a corner of your toast in the mustard, and then in the soup, and then in your mouth. You’ll be glad you did.
* Meat & BreadÂ has an incredible house made mustard that they sell by the jar. A few more pennies than you’d spend at your average grocery store, but so so worth it. You should also just go there for lunch because their sandwiches are killer.