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London particular

1 April 2005

People do miss the point sometimes. I had friends for lunch yesterday (this is becoming a thing-that-happens, and I like it: opportunities to cook at a different level, light and easy, with none of the trauma of a dinner-party), and I found a recipe for London particular. Tastes scrummy, but the intro to the recipe says "This soup was named after the thick blankets of yellow fog of ‘peasoupers’ that used to engulf London." How pedestrian can you get? The whole joy about the name is that the fogs were named after the soup and then the soup is renamed after the fog’s other name, where it had been named again after a variety of Madeira. There now, didn’t that need saying?

Anyway, the soup. This is my take on the original recipe:

Soak a smoked gammon hock overnight, then simmer in fresh water to cover, with a big carrot, a couple of celery sticks and a leek all chopped up, and a couple of crushed garlic cloves. It'll need a couple of hours, till it's tender. Strain and reserve the stock, shred the meat off the hock.

Rinse the split peas a few times in running water, then simmer in lots of water till tender. Half an hour plus. Then blend the bulk of them with some of the gammon-water, till smooth.

Fry a finely-sliced onion in olive oil with a couple of young tender diced carrots and a sweet sliced leek. When tender, mix it all in with the purée, the remainder of the split peas and the hock-meat, then add more stock to make a soup. Heat it, and stand by to add more stock or water; it will be thicker than you think. Beware of hot pease pudding; soup should flow, at least a little.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.