This soup always reminds me of home. It has to be one of my all time favourite comforting meals. My mothers version somehow always tastes better, but I happily plug away at making it again and again in pursuit of the perfect brew. If I followed a recipe it might be more likely, but that is part of the beauty of making it, it never tastes exactly the same twice. Of course, ideally the components that make up this soup are:
A Ham or Bacon Hock (or bacon bones)
Soup mix (barley, split peas, red lentils, alphabet pasta)
Inevitably, quantities and ingredients vary, which is where the excitement starts really! Tonights soup was heavy on the pumpkin, as they are ridiculously cheap at the moment, and not only did it make it go alot further, my family actually prefer it to be overly pumpkin. I didn't have a leek or capsicum, so a couple of onions were tossed in instead.
The basic method is to boil the ham/bacon hock up in plenty of water with the soup mix for a good hour or so, take the bone out of the water (and skim off any icky bits on the top), and get all the meat off it. Return the meat to the stock along with all the other veges (which you have dutifully chopped up while waiting for the stock to develop!). Boil this for at least another 30 mins (to be fair, how much longer after that is up to you- this not being a purist recipe, I am hardly going to preach about achieving perfection here!!!!:).
I quite enjoy the chopping endeavour, but some days I am somewhat ambivalent about hacking through lots of pumpkin, so I microwave the whole pumpkin for around 10 mins and the knife just glides through, you can scoop out the seeds and then de-skin it and chop it in no time at all.
If I am feeling really enthusiastic everything is cut into lovely small dice, or I will grate the carrots and parsnips, but usually it is haphazardly cut into irregular chunks! On those days it is known as the 'rustic' version!
To serve with this I made the cheese scone recipe from here - this time shaping and baking it in a round cake tin and serving them as wedges. I got that idea from making Rhyley's Granny's soda bread, and it is a nifty way to cook and serve savoury scones that I think I will keep up!