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
3 cloves garlic, chunked not crushed
4 large potatoes, peeled and cubes
Toasted grainy bread, to serve
Place the bacon bone in a large saucepan and cover with at least 2 litres of the water.
Simmer covered for 1½ hours.
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.
Meanwhile, remove any meat form the bone and dice.
Return to the soup and heat through.
Check for seasoning, then ladle into bowls and top with a small teaspoon of pesto and sprinkle with parsley.