An old-fashioned classic brought up to date in a slow cooker. Perfect for a wintery day, this filling, budget-friendly soup is made with dried split green peas and smoky gammon. Freeze any leftovers in handy portions in sealed containers for reheating on another day.
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots (around 175g/6oz), peeled and diced
- 400g/14oz dried split green peas
- 850ml/1½ pints just-boiled water from a kettle
- ½ tsp dried mixed herbs
- 600–750g/1lb 5oz–1lb 10oz smoked gammon joint, string and any netting removed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chopped fresh flatleaf parsley, to serve (optional)
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the onion, celery and carrots over a high heat for 4–5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Tip into a slow cooker.
Put the split peas in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Tip into the slow cooker pot with the vegetables and add the water and mixed herbs. Season with lots of pepper and stir well.
Place the gammon in the centre of the slow cooker pot and nestle into the other ingredients. Cover with a lid and cook on High for 5–6 hours. If the peas are looking a little dry after 3–4 hours, add an extra 100ml/3½fl oz or so just-boiled water and continue cooking. By the end of the cooking time, the peas should be completely softened and the gammon fall-apart tender.
Carefully take the gammon out of the slow cooker using tongs and place on a board. Stir the soup well with a wooden spoon, crushing all the peas to make a thick purée. You can add some more just-boiled water at this point to reach the right consistency for a soup. (For an extra smooth soup, blitz with a stick blender.) Season with salt and pepper.
Shred the gammon and stir a handful through the soup. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve the remaining gammon on top. Sprinkle with a little of the parsley and an extra grind of black pepper, if preferred. If making ahead, add extra water when reheating, as the soup will thicken as it cools.