Herb-scented ham and pea soup

    1 hour 10 mins

    A hint of cream makes this fresh green soup seem delightfully indulgent. The peas fill the soup with vitamins and fibre, while a modest amount of lean ham adds protein and depth of flavour. Serve with crusty bread for a satisfying starter or add a sandwich and enjoy it for lunch.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 small carrot, cut into cubes
    • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
    • 1 leek, white part only, chopped
    • 1 celery stalk, cut into cubes
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 potato, peeled and cut into cubes
    • 100 g lean boiled or baked ham, cut into cubes
    • 3½ cups (500 g) shelled fresh or frozen peas
    • ½ tsp dried herbes de Provence, or to taste
    • 1 litre vegetable stock, preferably homemade light
    • 3 large lettuce leaves, finely shredded
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 tbsp reduced-fat thickened cream

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:55min  ›  Ready in:1hr10min 

    1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, leek, celery, parsley, potato and ham. Stir well, then cover the pan, reduce the heat and sweat the vegetables for about 30 minutes or until they are softened. Stir the vegetables occasionally so that they cook evenly.
    2. Add the peas, herbes de Provence and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium–high and cook until the peas are just tender – allow about 10 minutes for fresh peas or 5 minutes for frozen. Add the lettuce and cook gently for a further 5 minutes.
    3. Purée half to two-thirds of the soup in a blender, then stir the purée back into the rest of the soup. Alternatively, use a hand-held blender to partly purée the soup in the pan. Reheat the soup gently, if necessary, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Swirl a little cream into each portion and serve at once.

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