This soup was named after the thick London fogs that occurred in the 19th century and were generally referred to as ‘Pea Soupers’. In Charles Dickens’ ‘Bleak House’, William Guppy remarks to Esther Summerson that the fog is a ‘London Particular’.
Ideally, try to obtain a ham bone with ham still clinging to it for this recipe as the flavour is marvelous. You will need to go to a proper butcher or delicatessen for this as supermarkets will not sell them to you. Alternatively you can use bacon or the remains of a cooked gammon ham and use chicken stock instead.
You will need to start this dish in the morning or evening before you need to serve it.
Also be aware that this soup is Very Filling and is a meal in itself.
To Cook a Ham Bone
Put the ham bone in a pot with enough water to cover it. Bring it to the boil then simmer for about two hours. Leave it to cool skimming off the fat. Remove all the meat from the bone and use the stock for the soup.
PEA AND HAM SOUP
1 x large saucepan
1 x large bowl
1 lb / 480g dried split green peas
EITHER the meat of a ham bone OR 4 rashers of bacon OR an equivalent quantity of gammon
If you’re using ham you will need 2oz / 60g butter
1 large onion – finely sliced
4 pints of a combination of the soaking liquid from the peas, the ham stock or chicken stock
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Soak the peas in enough cold water to cover them for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight
If using bacon, cook it in a large saucepan until the fat is running out, then add the onion and cook until soft
If using ham, melt the butter in the pan, add the onions and cook until soft
Add the peas and the liquid
Cover the pan and bring to the boil
Skim off any scum and turn down the heat
Add the ham and simmer for two hours
Stir occasionally to stop it sticking
By this time the peas will have turned into a thick, textured puree
Season to taste and add the Worcester Sauce
Serve with good bread or toast