This weeks soup was made as part of my ongoing quest to cook through all of the recipes in Delia Smith's The Delia Collection Soups. I'm not the biggest fan of pea and ham soups, I will happily eat one if served, but don't usually make them, or search them out. I'd never cooked with yellow split peas, though of course in my head I know that cooking with yellow peas will be just the same as cooking with green split peas, but still..... they do look different.
Delia has once again thoughtfully provided the recipe (and her styled photograph) of the soup online. The book doesn't include a photo of the soup, the full page photo opposite the recipe is a glass canister of yellow split peas with some artfully spilt split peas lying about. This always worries me about the colour of the resulting soup. It's a common strategum for the less attractive looking soups. It is nice for a soup to look pretty although I think many excellent soups aren't really pretty to look at, and if the professional food stylists and photographers give up then watch chance do we poor home cooks have of making a visually appealing soup?
I do enjoy making a stock, although it's not something that I get to do all the time. It always seems so virtuous to make stock, but nothing could be simpler. Put some meaty bones and barely chopped vegies into a large pot with some water, then virtually ignore it for a few hours. I made stock for this soup, as you can't really buy ham stock- why is that? Anyway I got to feel virtuous once more.
The colour of the final result wasn't as bad as I was expecting after all. I rarely make croutons, as I always serve bread on the side with soup, but I did for this one as it was part of Delia's recipe. I'm sure the type of bread used matters. I used the only bread we had in the house which was sadly supermarket white hi fibre kids bread, and not surprisingly it didn't really make a pleasing texture in the final crouton. And they sank a bit too easily.
The non-soup fans in the house liked this soup, but didn't rave over it. I thought it a perfectly adequate pea and ham soup- again not one of my favourite types of soup.