Ft. Pea and Ham Soup recipe
Every April, as the temperature starts to drop, soup becomes a big part of my life. I crave it, I dream about it, and—most importantly—I eat it. This year proved no different. So when I got a hankerin’ for some pea and ham soup I cleared my schedule and settled in for one of my Sunday slow cook-ups.
With the delightful aroma still filling our little house, I ladled out the soup and we sat down with our bowls. We remembered then that we had eaten this same meal almost exactly a year ago. But as we sipped and slurped our way through this year’s soup we realised last year’s was not quite so enjoyable.
Back then—despite making the dish—I couldn’t enjoy it. I picked out all of the meat before I started, and congratulated myself on eating what was essentially a pea soup. Super healthy, right? I had let the eating disorder win, but I finished most of the bowl and felt proud of myself. Later that night, as we settled in to watch one of our favourite TV series, my mind began to race. I’d removed the meat, but what else had I put in the soup—and more importantly, my body?
At this stage I was incredibly aware of my carb intake. I stuck religiously to my (at least four) carb-free nights a week, and was careful to avoid them at most other meals too. So when I Googled and found out split peas were a carbohydrate, I lost it. They were the main ingredient and I’d just shoveled spoonful after spoonful into my body. I couldn’t help but freak over the damage I (thought) I’d just done.
Instead of enjoying a nice night in with Matt (one of my favourite things to do!), I spent the evening curled in a ball, my body wracked with sobs. For the next few hours Matt attempted to console me and eventually—by some miracle—we got through it. But the night was ruined, and we’ll never get it back. (Quick note: this is what the ED does. It doesn’t have your best intentions in mind, and it certainly doesn’t love you like your friends and family. Don’t forget that!)
This year, I’m happy to report things went very differently. I ate my soup on the lounge while watching The West Wing (a show we’re currently addicted to) and it was bliss. Not only did I finish the whole bowl—including tender morsels of smoked ham hock—but I also devoured some crusty, buttery garlic bread. I felt nourished and fulfilled.
Looking back now, comparing this year to last, I can hardly believe it. My approach to food has changed so dramatically. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come in my recovery journey, and more eager than ever to jump the last few hurdles before the finish line.
It’s so important to look back on our journeys—whether it’s overcoming an eating disorder or anything else we’re fighting. We would love to hear your progress stories and celebrate with you. Leave us a comment below or share you story with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, please enjoy the star of this post: my pea and ham soup.
Pea and Ham Soup
500g green split peas, rinsed under cold water until water runs clear
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery stalks, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1kg ham hock (we use smoked for extra flavour)
1 bay leaf
2 litres of water
Salt and pepper to taste
Natural yogurt and bread to serve
Step 1: Place split peas, carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf, salt and pepper in the slow cooker and stir.
Step 2: Add ham hock and water. Turn slow cooker on to low and cook for 7-8 hours (until meat will fall off the bone).
Step 3: Remove ham hock from slow cooker, removing bones and discarding any fat and skin (You can leave it in if you’d prefer. We like to leave a little—or a lot—for extra flavour).
Step 4: Use a hand blender to blend the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker to your liking (we like our soup relatively smooth). Return ham to slow cooker and give a stir to combine.
Serve with a dollop of natural yogurt and some form of delicious bread (we opted for sourdough garlic bread). Enjoy.