Winter soup

How come winter set in before Autumn? Woke this morning to hard hail then flutterings of snow.  Hot soup. Winter soup.

I’d already boiled a ham hock a couple of days ago (cheap, cheap cheap, under £4 and enough meat on it for 6 generous helpings).  Boiled the hock in plenty of water, black peppercorns, a whole onion, celery stick and a carrot. And a few juniper berries and a bay leaf or two for good measure, skimming off the fat occasionally, then left in the water overnight.  In the morning took out the hock and skimmed the broth again and cooked dried green peas in the broth and left in the pan overnight.  I left the meat on the bone.

This morning I’ve just been pottering quietly, sweating off some chopped onion, celery, garlic, carrot and potato in butter and olive oil with a fresh bay leaf and some thyme leaves.  Then ladled in the peas and broth over the vegetables and boned the hock, chopping some of the ham hock meat into the soup, seasoned with salt and ground white peppercorns and set on a low heat to gently bubble.  It’s not ready to eat yet but when it’s lunch time I will check the seasoning again. And then eat it with fresh brown bread.

The rest of the hock meat will go into a creamy chicken and ham with tarragon pie.  Or in the freezer for another day.

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