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A hearty winter warmer - much better than the canned variety though quite a labour intensive job! Well worth the effort though ;-)
Rinse the split peas well with cold water and soak for 24 hours allowing 3 cups of water for every cup of peas.
Preheat oven to 150DegC
Place ham hocks, carrots, onions, celery, peppercorns, bay, thyme and peppercorns into a heavy lidded casserole dish and add sufficient stock to cover the hocks completely.
Place into preheated oven and cook for between 4-5 hours. Check after 4 hours - if meat is falling away from the bone, remove from oven and allow to cool.
Once the casserole is completely cold, remove any fat, scum etc.
Once cool remove hocks/meat, pick through meat, discarding sinew, fat, gristle etc. Shred/cut ham for use later. Also reserve the stock/veg for use later.
Bring stock/veg to a simmer and skim off any impurities.
Rinse the split peas twice and add to the stock.
Cook on a gentle simmer for 1/2 to 1 hour, or until peas are cooked through. Add additional water during cooking time if required. (Squeeze a pea between forefinger & thumb, if it's soft, the peas are cooked).
Remove bay, thyme sprigs and use a stick blender (Bamix) to blend to a creamy consistency.
Return shredded ham to mixture & stir to combine.
Bring to a gentle simmer & serve.
Really lovely with finely shredded mint and/or parsley.
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