This is another one that you can muck around with depending on your tastes. The quality will depend largely on how patient you are making the stock and how big your hocks are (um, not yours exactly… I mean the ones that used to be on a pig). It needs to be very strong-tasting to make a decent soup.
In a nice big pot, fry two large chopped onions in a bit of butter till they’re translucent. (If you like a really thick soup, you can also add a couple of large potatoes cut into cubes, but that will moderate the pea/ham flavour a little.) Then add 2 nice big smoked bacon hocks (you can get them from the deli section of a decent supermarket), cover with water and simmer for x hours, where ‘x’ is the time required for the water to become delicious bacon stock and the meat to be falling off the bones. (x usually equals pretty much all day; you may need to top up the water if you didn’t start with enough, but every time you do that you’ll weaken the taste again and have to boil for hours to get it back, so go easy.)
If you like, you can cover with vegetable stock (15g Vegeta to 5 cups boiling water) instead of water for a stronger tasting soup, but it will alter the balance a bit.
Cool the stock for a little while so you don’t burn your hands, then fish out all the meat and bones. You can do this most easily by running the stock through a colander, picking out the meat and bones that are caught, and then returning the onion and potato (if you used it) to the stock pot.
If you’re anal about fat, you can now stand the stock in the fridge overnight and then skim the fat off the top. However, I am reminded of my son arguing with me about junk food at a hideously early age… ‘Fat is taste, Mum…’
Add a kilo of frozen peas to the stock and return to the boil, while you sort through the bacon and take out all the bones and skin. Discard these (do NOT give the bones to your dog, unless you want to pay for putting your vet’s children through university) and chop the meat up into little bite-size pieces (the size you’d like to find on your spoon). DON’T return it to the stock yet- set it aside.
When the peas are thoroughly soft but not khaki, turn off the heat and cool the stock slightly. Then run batches of it through the blender till it’s thick and smooth. Add the pieces of meat, taste, season with salt & pepper, reheat to your preferred temperature and serve with yummy crusty rolls.