Mother's "Mushy" Pea Soup

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Joined Oct 8, 2001
Memories of growing up are continually dogged by Mother's "Mushy" Pea Soup. My brother and I must have eaten gallons of it during our teenage years, even to the stage where I think my brother was getting withdrawal symptoms if he did not get a regular "fix".

All our friends knew Mum's pea soup and would often ask if there would be any available if they called around. And during winter months any guests of the family who were invited for lunch would invariably start their meal with a bowl of good old pea soup.

Mind you it was good and on a cold winter's day was both warming and nourishing.

During the winter months the kitchen was like a production line for pea soup with a pan of it always on the go. We even had pea soup lollies for the times when supply wasn't keeping up with demand - that was pea soup deep frozen in long half pint containers - all it lacked was the sticks and you could have sat their on a hot summer's day licking a nice cooling pea soup lolly!

The great secret of the pea soup died with my mother a few year's ago. As I have got older I have looked to recapture those recipes from my youth because as well as tasting good they are imbued with fond memories (you forget the bad ones) so over the last two months I have been creating various concoctions in an attempt to re-create the famous pea soup. I am pleased to say that I have succeeded to the point where only an experienced connoisseur of Mum's soup might be able to tell the difference.

Part of the problem has been the ingredients. Back when Mum used to make it you could get ham bones from the grocer (it was the grocer that sold the bacon in the UK and not the butcher). The arrival of supermarkets saw the death of the independent grocer in the early 70s and with it the availability of ham bones. If you can still get them so much the better otherwise like me you will have to rely on stock cubes!

Ingredients

12 pints water
1 bunch of celery
5 large carrots
1 large onion
2 pkts dried peas (the type you have to soak with a steeping tablet for 24 hours)
4 ham stock cubes
Fresh ground pepper
Sea salt

Method
Remember you will need to soak your peas for 24 hours before you need them.

You will need a saucepan that is capable of holding at least 8 pints of liquid.

Fill your pan with 8 pints of water. Rough chop your celery, carrots and onion and add to water. (Do not add any salt - salt stops the flavour from coming out of the vegetables). Bring to boil and leave to simmer for about 4 or 5 hours or until liquid has reduced by half.

(If you have been lucky enough to get hold of ham bones place them in the pan with the vegetables - do not add stock cubes at later stage. You will have to gauge water according to size of your pan. Less water at this stage does not matter as you are merely making your stock).

Remove and discard the vegetables. Drain and rinse your peas which have been soaking and add to pan. Bring liquid in pan back up to level at start of process (approximately another 4 pints). Bring to the boil and add 4 ham stock cubes (I use Knorr stock cubes in the UK which have only recently become available). Turn down heat and leave to simmer for 1 or 2 hours with a lid on.

Remove from heat and put through liquidiser. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot with chunks of ciabatta or French bread.

Makes approx 12 bowlfuls
 

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