A hearty soup with the deliciously nutty flavour of celeriac. You can use parsnip if celeriac proves hard to find.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 leek, sliced
500 grams celeriac, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
2 big sprigs thyme
2 smoked ham hocks (about 1 kilogram in total)
500 grams dried, green split peas
sea salt and ground pepper
mint and lemon wedges
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, carrot, leek, celeriac, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Season well then cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the ham hocks and split peas and enough cold water to cover everything well. I used 12 cups.
Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer. A simmer mat is perfect for this. Cook for about 2½ hours, stirring occasionally, or until the hock is very tender and the meat is falling off the bone. Skim off any grey foam from the top of the soup.
Carefully lift out the hocks and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding all the fat, sinew and bone. Remove the thyme sprigs and season the soup if needed.
To serve: Reheat the soup and serve with the shredded pork hock, crème fraiche, mint and lemon wedges for each person to squeeze into their soup.
Cook’s tip: The shredded pork hock can be stirred back into the hot soup for serving or sauté in a little butter to make it lovely and sticky and serve alongside.