Friday, July 20, 2012

Bacon bone soup

It’s been a little longer than normal since my last post, but with work being crazy busy at the moment, and me going ever so slightly mental over the upcoming Visa Wellington on a Plate, The City Market: Pecha Kucha presentation, nothing like deadlines to bring out the best in you, maybe. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the pressures are slowly abating, plus I’ve got four days to unwind, de-stress and really put my thinking cap on.

In my ever humble opinion, and I know the better half very much disagrees, nothing beats split pea and bacon bone soup, rich, salty, thick, soupy goodness that warms the very soul on a dark winter's night. However as I mentioned, the better half ended up being tortured with the luscious aromas of simmering bones and split peas, and boy did she let me know she was not happy, a pity too, seeings as I made a five litre batch, oh well more for me, and anyway it was her fault for buying me a 16 litre stock pot for my birthday, what was I meant to do?

The quantities in this recipe is for a rather large batch soup, but should scale down (or up) pretty easily, and if you don’t have access to bacon bones a bacon hock should suffice. I know the vegetable quantities are rather vague, I didn’t take very good notes on this one, but just add to your own tastes.

1.5 kg Bacon Bones
4 cups Green Split Peas
1 Large bouquet garni of fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano etc)
1 Tbsp Caraway seeds
4-5 Juniper berry
3 Bay leaves
Even quantity of Celery, Carrots & Onions diced
5 Litres Water

Get a pot with enough water to cover the bacon bones on to boil. When the water is at a roiling boil, blanch the bacon bones for 3 minutes, to remove any excess salt. Drain.

Add everything to the pot and bring to a simmer, cook for 2 hours.

Now the next part is a bit tricky, probably a lot easier in smaller quantities, you need to remove all of the bones. So with a combination of straining and scooping, remove all of the bones to a bowl, ready to have the meat picked off. You’ll need to let the bones cool down a little before you attempt to pick them over, so while you wait, return everything else (apart from the bouquet garni and bay leaves) to the pot and with an immersion blender, purée the soup. When the bones are cool enough to handle, pick the meat off and place back into the soup, discard the bones. Taste and season.

Serve it up nice and hot with some crusty bread, even better, crusty bread slathered with garlic confit. Unless you’re going to make it through five litres of the soup, wait for it to cool, portion it into containers and freeze.

Head over to Urban Harvest and check out my Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe.


  1. I'm in the middle of making this right now. The house smells wonderful. I had a bag of bones that looked exactly like the ones in your photograph and I thought, ah ha!
    Only thing – you give no idea of quantity regarding the vegetables. A little, a lot? I used what I had and I'm hoping it's enough.

    1. I'm afraid I have a very vague answer, enough. But seriously it depends on you taste, I usually use about equal quantity of vege to bones, but sometimes more sometimes less.

    2. This was perfect and I loved it, I did however leave out the Caraway seeds and I didn't have any Juniper berries but it didn't seem to matter too much, I added a couple of fresh Mint leaves that seemed to work well.
      I don't think that you need to be too precise with the quantities of vegetables, but probably better to add less than to over do it as you don't want to change the flavor of the Pea soup into something else.
      On the subject of freezing containers of soup, sadly I found a thawed container of soup that I had forgotten that I had taken out of the freezer more than a week ago hiding in the back of my fridge, such a waste of a good meal :-/)
      Thanks for the recipe

    3. Yes me too, I got my bacon bones from my local NewWorld supermarket for only $4.99 a Kg, got to be a good deal :-)

  2. Oh and while I remember, a good way to take the meat from the bone is to use the edge of a spoon to scrape it off, it's better than a knife, easier to hold and does a better job in MHO.

  3. My mam used to do it using bacon bones ( ribs ), me, my mam and dad plus three sisters...we never went hungry, when I make and eat the soup....the years roll back cook in the world....ever!. Enjoy.

  4. I have a pot on the go now...but I cooked the bones at night for several hours, then in the morning strained and sorted the meat from the bones before continuing with the herbs and veg etc so no one gets a shock in their soup bowl if a stray bone gets left. Bit hard to sort the meat and bones when you've already cooked it all with veg.