Split pea and ham soup with ham and cheddar toasties

Pea and ham soup is a classic winter warmer. Here we’ve nabbed a little of the ham hock to serve on the side in the form of cheesy toasted sandwiches.
Split pea and ham soup with ham and cheddar toasties


Ham and cheddar toasties


1.Heat butter in a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Add onion, fennel and garlic and sauté until tender (about 6-8 minutes). Add ham hock, cover with cold water (about 4 litres), bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Half-cover with a lid and cook until ham is falling from the bone (1-1½ hours). Remove hock, cool, then discard skin and bone. Shred meat and reserve.
2.Meanwhile, add split peas to the stock and simmer until very tender (45-60 minutes). Add baby peas and simmer until bright green (1-2 minutes). Stir in spinach, parsley and mint to just wilt, then purée with a hand-held blender (or in batches in a blender) until smooth. Stir in lemon rind and juice, season to taste and keep warm.
3.For the toasties, heat a sandwich press or toastie maker. Butter bread, then place half the slices butter-side down on a work surface. Spread with mustard to taste, top with ham hock (you won’t need all the meat; add remainder to soup), then cheese. Season and sandwich with remaining bread butter-side up. Toast until golden brown (3-4 minutes). To serve, scatter soup with extra mint and serve hot with sliced toasties.

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