March 12th, 2006

happy den

Soup

Dad used to be a cook in shearing sheds, so he shares cooking duties with Mum. The only real problem, if it is a problem, is that he never got the hang of cooking for small numbers of people. When he cooks we're eating leftovers for days. Dad has this cooking pot that holds about 5 gallons of water, so when he makes a soup he makes enough to feed a shearing shed's worth of hungry shearers. Mum pours the leftovers into empty ice cream containers and freezes them. It's not unusual to find a frost-covered ice cream container containing a block of green ice, with the words "PEA & HAM, JAN2004" written on the lid.

Dad's pea&ham soup, for crossfire

Ham bones with ham on them, the more meat the better. Dad uses the bones from leg or shoulder ham because he likes the ones with marrow.
2 finely chopped onions, or more. You like onions? Throw them in!
2 cups split green peas. More cups will be required if you use 5 gallons of water like someone I know.
You won't need salt, but you can add a little pepper, garlic and other herbs to taste. A little chilli can give it a nice bite but don't use too much or it'll kill the pea&ham flavours. I prefer no chilli.

Put the ham bones in a large pot and cover them with water, then boil them to death. Seriously. Boil them for HOURS, until the ham has fallen off and all the marrow in the bones is in the water. If you use leg bones you'll have clean tubes of calcium.
Remove the bones and add everything else.
Cook until the peas have broken down and dissolved in the liquid. The water should evapourate so you end up with a thick pea soup with lumps of ham lurking in the murky depths. This is now edible.


When poured into a container for storage in the fridge, the soup will set like gelatine to the point where it can be dumped on a plate and will hold the shape of the container and wobble like jelly. When reheated it turns back into runny soup. Freezes well, keeps for years.