London particular

There is snow again. Not enough to stop me getting to work but enough to make me grateful for central heating. I’m battling the weather on all fronts – with thick socks, knitted hats and bowls of soup.

Named after the noxious yellow fogs that used to poison Londoners when the capital actually made things, London particular is a thick soup made from dried yellow split peas. It takes a few hours to simmer into soupy readiness, but once all the ingredients are in the pot, you can just cover it and leave it to get on with the business of cooking. It keeps well in the fridge, so I made a batch on the weekend and brightened my first days back at work with steaming bowlfuls.

Victorian recipes settle on ham hock as the meaty flavouring that gets boiled with the peas and then shredded, but earlier split pea use beef bones, veal bones or any bones you can lay your hands on. The amount of bones I have waiting at home to be turned into soup at any one time is approximately none. And I can get ham hocks, but then I do live in a particularly nose-to-tail eating neighbourhood. So for this recipe, I’ve made it easy for everyone by using lardons. They’re cheap, nicely fatty and easy to cook with. They also give the soup a smokey savouriness which, combined with the sheer weight of dried peas, makes this a filling and satisfying meal in the middle of winter.

London particular
Serves 4

275g dried yellow split peas
200g smoked bacon lardons
150g onion, finely chopped
200g carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped (reserve any leaves)
2 bay leaves

1 Place the peas in a bowl, cover with water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, place a pan over a medium heat and add the bacon lardons. Fry, stirring, for 5–6 minutes, until golden all over. Add the onions, carrot and celery and continue to fry over a low heat, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes or until soft.

2 Drain the peas and add to the vegetables with 11/2 litres water and the bay leaves. Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to a rolling simmer and cook for 11/2-2 hours, until the split peas are tender. Remove the bay leaves.

3 Take the pan off the heat and use a hand-held blender to blend the soup until it’s half smooth and half chunky. Taste and season. Ladle into warm bowls and top with any chopped celery leaves you have. Serve immediately. The soup will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.

Tagged with: BaconEnglishSoups

13 Responses to London particular

  1. Gary says:

    You can’t beat a hearty ham-based soup on a wintry day. *runs to pantry*


  2. Wonderful! This is what I can do with my left over ham done in coca cola from weekend

  3. Danny says:

    I particularly like the look of this London particular. Perfect for a day like today (erm when it’s very snowy).

  4. Lizzie says:

    I used the liquor from simmering my ham hock to make soup with split yellow peas – I had no idea it was called this.

  5. Leluu says:

    I will be making this tomorrow – looks and sounds exactly like what we all need in the snow! Thank you x

  6. you’re telling me that in some areas of London you may find it hard to get your hands on hocks of ham?

    bloody nora!!!

    this looks good none the less…..

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      I know, that there London isn’t nearly as good as people say, is it?

      I can get ham hocks, but apparently not everyone lives in easy reach of a butcher that does all the cuts, so made this soup easier through the magic of fatty chunks of bacon. I do like to make it easy for people to make my recipes, then no one has any excuse not to!

  7. James B says:

    What a great soup to put on to cook while you go for a nice long walk in the snow. Would be lovely to come home to a abowl of this.

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