A perfect soup for big family gatherings. It also freezes well – just reheat gently until piping hot. The smoky bacon bone contains a lot of salt, so be careful not to add any extra when cooking. Taste for seasoning just before serving.
- 1 bacon or ham hock
- 4 litres water
- 1 cup soup mix – barley, split peas, red lentils, etc
- 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- ½ leek, halved and finely sliced
- 1 swede, grated
- 1-2 tbsp pesto
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- Toasted grainy bread, to serve
1 Place the bacon bone in a large saucepan and cover with at least 2 litres of the water. Simmer covered for 1½ hours.
2 Remove the bone and meat and set aside to cool. Add the remaining water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the soup mix and simmer for 40 minutes, then add the sliced and grated vegetables. Simmer for a further 15 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, remove any meat form the bone and dice. Return to the soup and heat through.
4 Check for seasoning, then ladle into bowls and top with a small teaspoon of pesto and sprinkle with parsley.