A meaty ham bone or smoked bacon hock can be used to make this soup. With long slow cooking, the split peas fall apart to naturally thicken the soup.
500g dried green split peas, rinsed and checked for stones
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 large meaty ham bone or bacon hock
2 bay leaves
2½ litres cold water
NZ sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Italian parsley leaves, to garnish
1. Place split peas, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaves and ham bone/bacon hock in a very large pot and cover with the water.
2. Place pot over high heat and bring liquid to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring regularly to prevent the split peas from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Use a spoon to occasionally skim any froth from the surface.
3. After 2 hours, lift the bone/hock from the pot, leaving the soup simmering, uncovered. Remove the meat and discard the bone, skin and fat. Roughly chop or shred the meat and return to the soup, saving some as garnish.
4. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with reserved meat and parsley leaves and with crusty bread on the side. This soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or can be frozen.