Friday, July 20, 2012

Bacon bone soup

It’s been a little longer than normal since my last post, but with work being crazy busy at the moment, and me going ever so slightly mental over the upcoming Visa Wellington on a Plate, The City Market: Pecha Kucha presentation, nothing like deadlines to bring out the best in you, maybe. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the pressures are slowly abating, plus I’ve got four days to unwind, de-stress and really put my thinking cap on.

In my ever humble opinion, and I know the better half very much disagrees, nothing beats split pea and bacon bone soup, rich, salty, thick, soupy goodness that warms the very soul on a dark winter's night. However as I mentioned, the better half ended up being tortured with the luscious aromas of simmering bones and split peas, and boy did she let me know she was not happy, a pity too, seeings as I made a five litre batch, oh well more for me, and anyway it was her fault for buying me a 16 litre stock pot for my birthday, what was I meant to do?

The quantities in this recipe is for a rather large batch soup, but should scale down (or up) pretty easily, and if you don’t have access to bacon bones a bacon hock should suffice. I know the vegetable quantities are rather vague, I didn’t take very good notes on this one, but just add to your own tastes.

1.5 kg Bacon Bones
4 cups Green Split Peas
1 Large bouquet garni of fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano etc)
1 Tbsp Caraway seeds
4-5 Juniper berry
3 Bay leaves
Even quantity of Celery, Carrots & Onions diced
5 Litres Water

Get a pot with enough water to cover the bacon bones on to boil. When the water is at a roiling boil, blanch the bacon bones for 3 minutes, to remove any excess salt. Drain.

Add everything to the pot and bring to a simmer, cook for 2 hours.

Now the next part is a bit tricky, probably a lot easier in smaller quantities, you need to remove all of the bones. So with a combination of straining and scooping, remove all of the bones to a bowl, ready to have the meat picked off. You’ll need to let the bones cool down a little before you attempt to pick them over, so while you wait, return everything else (apart from the bouquet garni and bay leaves) to the pot and with an immersion blender, purée the soup. When the bones are cool enough to handle, pick the meat off and place back into the soup, discard the bones. Taste and season.

Serve it up nice and hot with some crusty bread, even better, crusty bread slathered with garlic confit. Unless you’re going to make it through five litres of the soup, wait for it to cool, portion it into containers and freeze.

Head over to Urban Harvest and check out my Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe.