Heston Blumenthal OBE is one of Britain’s best chefs. The earned recipient of several Michelin stars, his restaurants The Fat Duck, Dinner, The Crown at Bray and The Hinds Head each play host to coveted tables, reservations, and meals. As we all self-isolate per the government guidelines, Heston generously shares a recipe exclusively with Quintessentially—so you can bring the restaurant home.
Pea and Ham Soup
For the soup
1 ham hock
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 leek (white part only), sliced
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
½ tsp black peppercorns
1kg frozen peas
For the mint oil
25g mint leaves
100g grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
75g banana shallots, peeled and diced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
160g pancetta, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the ham hock into a large pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then drain and refill the pot with fresh water to cover. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, leek, celery, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns and bring to a simmer for 3 hours, covered. Remove from the heat and allow the ham to cool in the stock. Strain and reserve the stock through a double layer of muslin, discarding the vegetables. Shred 270g of ham hock meat and set aside to add later. The remainder can be placed in the fridge for other uses.
In the meantime, defrost the peas by spreading out on a large tray lined with kitchen paper.
For the mint oil, bring a pan of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Blanch the mint leaves for 20 seconds, then drain and add to the iced bath. Once cooled, remove and dry thoroughly by squeezing the leaves, then patting dry using kitchen paper. Place the mint and grapeseed oil into a blender and blitz for 15 seconds. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the mint and reserving the oil. The mint oil will keep well in the fridge or up to 5 days.
To finish the soup, heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the shallots, garlic and pancetta gently for 5 minutes until the shallots have softened. Add 1.2kg of the reserved ham stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the peas, keeping 110g of peas aside to add later. Remove the pan from the heat and blend the mixture until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and return the mixture to a clean pot.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and gently reheat, using a hand blender to aerate the soup until frothy.
Divide the reserved shredded ham and fresh peas between six warm bowls and add the soup. Drizzle each portion with mint oil, and serve.