London Particular Pea and Ham

I’ve been eating a lot of soup recently , partly as it is an excellent way to plough through the vegbox and also because working at home in the cold weather, hot soup is a frugal alternative to central heating. usually they are a radmon combination of vegetables and pulses but I had to post this because it is delicious and requires no pre-made or bought stocks.

London Particular,  a classic Pea and Ham soup is  named after the thick yellow smogs or  “pea-soupers” ,that were particular to London from the 13th century. These fogs were caused by a combination of the  burning of soft coal and the mists of the Thames Valley.  Fogs could last for days and were lethal to people with respiratory diseases, they were so thick in the 1950s they even caused train crashes by blocking the signal lights. It is quite amazing to think  fogs could last several days and were common until a 1950s Act of Parliament banned the burning of coal

Strange that something so delicious can that something so tragic.  Traditionally this soup is  made with either split yellow or  green peas.  My ultra-frugal recipe uses a combination of super cheap yellow split peas and dried green marrowfat peas & a whole gammon hock which my butcher sells for £1.50.   you need to soak the gammon overnight , and peas overnight. For a recipe without pre-soaking of the beans HFW suggests using green lentils.

The result of a long gentle simmer is a thick soup of smoky savory yellow lentils with delicious bites of gammon and melting soft green peas. Perfect for cold autumn days, I have ever been known to eat it cold when it solidifies and can be spread on toast.

London Particular Pea and Ham Soup

1 gammon hock ( this is a cured rather than smoked cut) 1kg
250g of dried peas
250g of spit yellow peas
1 onion
2 bay leaves
Pepper freshly ground

  1. Soak the peas and lentils overnight in tepid water, in a seperate bowl soak the gammon hock in cold water
  2. Remove the skin from the gammon, I find this has the most salt in it. Put the gammon into a large saucepan of water with the finely chopped onion and bay leaves.
  3. Cover and simmer for two hours until the meat is begging to pull away from the bone  .
  4. Remove the hock from the water and set aside( not not discard the cooking liquid
  5. Drain the peas and lentils and rinse thoroughly , add them to the hot cooking liquid , which is now  , adding more water to cover the peas and lentils a required
  6. Bring to a gentle simmer, turn to a low heat,  cover and cook until the lentils are have begun to break down and the peas are softened about 45 minutes.  Check add more water if the lentils look to be drying out
  7. Meanwhile remove the cooling ham hock from the bone, shredding it with a knife and fork , once the lentils and peas are cooked, you can puree if you wish I like it as if.  Return to ham the soup and warm through
  8. Taste and season with freshly ground black pepper

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5 Responses to London Particular Pea and Ham

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi, I came across your blog when looking for recipes to do with fennel remoulade and love it. Your recipes and photos are great and I am def going to try this pea and ham soup. I have a food blog at and hope you will visit. I’ve added you to my links (maybe you could add me to yours?) and subscribed. Happy blogging.

  2. leaannbrown says:

    I love a ham and pea soup and also loved reading the history of the name.

  3. Su-Lin says:

    Beautiful. Had a lovely version of this at a restaurant recently and I definitely want to recreate it at home. Thank you!

  4. I did a similar soup using a gammon round, 2 kg frozen peas, 2 good size spuds, 1ltr veg stock, s&p to taste, part cook, all then blitz in mixer, return to slow cooker to finish. Rib sticking soup to keep out the cold,yummy.

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