Oma’s Pea and Ham Soup
This recipe has always been sort-of famous; but only among my nearest and dearest. However, since I published it in my first cookbook ‘At My Table’, it’s become well-loved by home cooks everywhere. It’s based on my oma’s recipe which has been passed down through the Dutch generations (affectionately known as ‘Oma Soup’ to one and all). It’s nutritious, hearty, packed with flavour, full of natural goodness and absolutely delicious. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does – I know my Oma would be so happy to know you’re making it, too.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 3-4 hours
Gluten-free (check the stock/stock powder)
1 smoked bacon hock (choose the biggest one you can find or two small ones if you want it nice and meaty)
1 large onion, chopped
1 fresh bay leaf (or 2 dried)
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 whole peppercorns
4 litres water
1 x 450g packet (2 cups) split green peas
1 1/4 cup red lentils
2 cups salt-reduced vegetable or chicken stock
1 large leek, outer leaves removed, very thinly sliced
1 whole bunch celery, including leaves, chopped
2 large carrots, grated
2 tsp (or 2 cubes) vegetable stock powder
Tiny pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
If you have time, you can soak the split peas in a bowl of cold water overnight – but it’s not essential. It will just mean they cook a little quicker.
Place the pork hock, onion, bay leaf, chopped carrots, celery, peppercorns and water into a large stock/soup pot. Cover and simmer over a very low heat for 2–3 hours (see slow cooker tip below), or until the meat is falling off the bone. Every now and then, use a large spoon to skim off any awkward foamy stuff from the surface.
Gently remove the pork hock (and any meat that has fallen off) and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve or colander, reserving the liquid and discarding the saggy vegetables etc.
When the pork hock is cool enough to handle, remove the good meat from the bones and tear/cut it into small pieces. Set the meat aside to use and discard the bones, skin etc. (note – dogs shouldn’t eat cooked bones).
Pour the broth back into the rinsed pot, along with the stock. Add the split peas and lentils and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the peas are mushy. Add the meat, leek, celery, grated carrot and stock powder, and cook until the veges are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper if using. Stir through the parsley.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. You will probably need more salt and pepper than you think – it’s a huge pot of soup! It may already be salty because of the hock and the stock, but add more until it tastes right to you.
Serve with lots of crusty buttered toast. I’d love to hear what you think of the recipe – feel free to leave a comment below or on Facebook.
- If you’d like to make the broth in a slow cooker, leave it on high for 4-5 hours or low for about 8 hours (while you’re at work). Then you can transfer it to the soup pot to finish it off.
- The soup is easily frozen in a sealed container (or in smaller portions) ziplock bag for several months.