As a lover of the warmer weather there are very few things I love about winter. Slow cooked meals are one of them. I have been thinking about making pea and ham soup since someone brought some of the homemade stuff into the office one day. I remember Mum making a fantastic pea and ham soup as a kid. Only problem now is, I don’t eat ham. So I had this idea to make it instead with lamb.
I googled pea and lamb soup but little came up. In fact not one slow cooker pea and lamb soup came up in my search. So I basically just threw in a heap of delicious ingedients, crossed my fingers and here we are.
It was a dark and gloomy day when I made this, I was tempted to curl up on the lounge for the day and just wait for the soup to be done. Instead we ventured out for our usual walk to our local village for milkshakes and hello’s with the locals. A couple of days ago on one of our walks we met a lovely local resident at our local cafe who has lived in the same house for 61 years, a house we walk past every day and I admire for the fact it is aged and you just know it would hold some beautiful memories. Our son has such a strong sense of community, he loves to stop and chat to the locals and share stories. This is something I encourage, given things have truly changed compared to when I was a kid when I could safely roam the streets on my own until the street lights went on. Walking back into the house after our walk I could smell nothing but the pea and lamb soup. And in our ever-changing world there is one thing that stays the same – slow cooked meals bring comfort and warmth in winter.
Ingredients (serves 4-6) // I used a 4.5L slow cooker
400g green split peas
2 lamb shanks (approx 900g)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 cups beef stock
2 cups water
A few sprigs each of rosemary and thyme
Sea salt and black pepper
Soak peas overnight.
Heat butter in a frying pan and saute onion, garlic, carrot and celery until fragrant.
Rinse and drain peas and place into slow cooker, then add lamb shanks. Pour sauteed ingredients over lamb, top with herbs, stock and 2 extra cups of water, just enough to cover ingredients. Do not stir. Season with salt and pepper, and set slow cooker at 8 hours.
At 6 hours, remove lamb shanks, remove meat from bones, shred and place meat back into slow cooker. I tasted the soup at this point and added some salt and pepper. Allow to stew for the remaining 2 hours.
Once cooked, remove rosemary and thyme sprigs. You can leave the soup chunky or once cooled slightly, pop a stick mixer in and mush the peas up a bit to produce a thicker textured soup. You can also add some water when you reheat the soup to make a smoother consistency if you prefer.
Serve with fresh crusty bread and butter.