We’ve been having a spot of bad weather in Hong Kong. When I say bad, I mean terrible. Sunday night we saw rain so heavy, and hail stones so big, that a shopping centre roof completely collapsed. The water coming through cascaded in torrents down the staircases and escalators. The videos are scary to watch, if you saw them in an apocalyptic movie they wouldn’t look out of place. The skies are rolling with thunder pretty much non stop, and if the downpours we’re experiencing are the originally forecast ‘showers’, then the dictionary needs a little re-writing.
This is a soup for wet, miserable days.
It’s hearty, its warming, and, most importantly, contains bacon. I’m a firm believer that there are few things in life that can’t be improved with bacon.
The soup starts by roasting a whole bulb of garlic until its deliciously soft and subtly tasty. This forms a wonderful base flavour to the soup, making it smell tempting and taste comforting.
Onions are fried with smoked bacon. The bacon gives everything a salty, smoky, deep taste.
Spilt peas and potato make everything thick and creamy, whilst still being healthy and light.
The soup gets extra flavour from dried rosemary and thyme, flavours that speak to me of roast dinners, homey cooking. The herbs sit beautifully against the smokey bacon.
I left it quite chunky when I blended it. Of course, you can choose how smooth you want it, but I really like coming across little chunks of potato, or strips of bacon that didn’t get blitzed.
I’m going to finish by saying that I have the greatest new found respect for food photographers who can take a bowl of soup and make it look sexy. How on earth do they do that? Don’t ask me, i’m clueless.Perhaps using a black bowl on a gloomy evening was a bad idea. Oh well.
Spilt Pea and Bacon Soup
1 bulb garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 rashes smoked back bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
200g spilt peas
800 ml chicken stock
1 medium potato (approx 150g)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 rashes smoked streaky bacon to garnish (optional)
First, roast your bulb of garlic.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Chop the top off the bulb of garlic to expose the garlic cloves.
Place onto a square of tin foil. Drizzle over about half a teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap the garlic bulb up in the foil to make a parcel.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the garlic is soft.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion and begin to soften. After about 2 minutes, add the bacon. Cook until the onion is softened and the bacon is cooked through and coloured.
Next, add the roasted garlic. First, pour the olive oil from the tin foil into your onion and bacon mixture. Now unwrap the cloves and squeeze in the garlic. Mix together and continue to cook for a further 2 or 3 minutes.
Add in your dried thyme and rosemary. Stir into the onion and bacon mixture.
Pour in your spilt peas and stock.
Chop your potato into small chunks and add to the pan along with the salt.
Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the spilt peas are tender.
Turn off the heat and blend to a rough, chunky texture.
Add a little water to take the soup to your desired constancy and warm through.
Top with more bacon, cut into little pieces and fried until crispy.
Check the seasoning and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve with warm fresh bread and lashings of butter.