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Pea soup with ham

1 ham hock
1 onion
1 carrot
1 tbsp butter
1 large potato, diced
3 leeks, sliced
2 sticks of celery, chopped
500ml stock from one chicken carcass
1kg frozen garden peas

We cook the ham hock slowly

Procure a smoked ham hock complete with skin and bone. If your ham hock is salty, soak it in cool fresh water overnight. Put the hock in a pan with the onion and carrot — both halved top-to-bottom. Cover with fresh water; bring to the boil and simmer gently for a couple of hours. Remove the hock and carrot. Keep the stock with the onion.

Discard the carrot. Cut the meat from the hock, saving the skin and bone. Slice the meat thinly (1/8 in. 3 mm) across the grain, and return it to simmer in the stock.

In a large pot, gently sweat potato, leeks and celery in melted butter, until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the chicken stock and the skin and bone from the hock.

Let both pots simmer gently, covered, for another hour or two, until the meat is tender.

Transfer a ladleful of ham stock, or more, to taste, to the chicken and vegetable pot. The soup should have just a hint of smoke and ham.

Reduce the liquid in the ham pot until it is thick. The ham slices should be falling apart in a rich, thick, salty, gelatinous sauce. This will serve as a garnish to complement the clean, green pea soup.

Remove the skin and bone, then whizz the vegetable soup in the blender, until smooth. Add the frozen peas and whizz briefly (you may need to do this in a couple of batches). Leave a few peas intact.

Bring the pea soup just to the boil, then serve. Garnish each bowl with a spoonful of the hot jellied ham.

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