I like to use petit pois in this, because I prefer their more tender texture and sweeter flavour, and to make life easy, you can use bought ham (or chicken/vegetable) stock if you like, and pre-shredded / pulled ham, which is also easily available. Otherwise, sear then gently simmer a ham hock in a couple of litres of water for a couple of hours, with a carrot, leek, celery stalk and a few fresh herbs (parsley. thyme, bay) plus some peppercorns and skim off any scum and strain. Then you can shred the meat from the hock to add to the soup.
For vegetarians, use vegetable stock, and substitute crumbled feta cheese and a handful of chopped fresh mint for the ham (as per the ingredients list) for an equally delicious soup.
Serves eight, 121 calories per serving - one of those soups which is delicious in any season!
- 1 medium cos lettuce (or similar tasting/textured crisp, sweet lettuce, e.g. romaine, baby gems depending on size - 140g with root cut out - you can double this if you have room in your pan and want it chunkier) 
- 4 spring onions, trimmed 
- 1/2 x 15ml tbsp oil (e.g. mild/light olive oil) 
- 1 medium onion (100g) 
- 1 garlic clove 
- 1 small potato, peeled (145g) 
- 1 litre ham (or chicken / vegetable) stock 
- 600g frozen petit pois (you could use garden peas) 
- 150g shredded/pulled/diced lean ham (or use 80g crumbled feta cheese for vegetarian alternative, plus some fresh mint) 
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Additional shredded ham, or crispy prosciutto/streaky bacon (if cooked between greaseproof baking paper in a hot oven, between two baking trays you will get a fantastic, flat, crispy result. Takes 5-10 minutes) or crumbled feta and fresh mint leaves for vegetarian version
- Pea shoots, watercress, cress or a little fresh flat leaf parsley
- A few cooked petit pois
- A little drizzle of cream
(See below for Thermomix method in italics)
Cut the onion and potato into relatively fine dice (you don't need to be a perfectionist about this, as you'll be blitzing it up later) and slice the garlic. Gently sautee the onion and garlic in the oil in a large pan for a few minutes, until softened but not coloured.
Add the potato and stock, bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the potato is just tender. Add 400g of the petit pois and cook for a further 7 minutes, and then blend to a smooth texture. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper (I add 1/2 tsp salt).
Add the shredded ham (if using), the remaining 200g petit pois and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile shred the lettuce, and finely slice the spring onions. Add the lettuce and spring onions (and crumbled feta and chopped mint, if making the vegetarian version), stir in and simmer for just another minute before serving. Top with your garnishes of choice, if using and enjoy with some warm crusty bread and butter!
If your ham is not already shredded, you can do this by adding chunks to the bowl, and mixing on Reverse / Speed 4 for just a few seconds, until it is shredded to your liking, then set aside.
Firstly, cut the spring onions into 1 inch lengths and chop 5 seconds / Speed 5 / MC on. Cut the core from the bottom of the lettuce, remove any outer leaves if necessary and rinse any grit out (you can separate the leaves if you prefer) and shake dry.
Add to the bowl, base end down, and chop 5 seconds / Speed 4 / MC on, to shred the lettuce. Remove the shredded lettuce and spring onion and set aside (don't worry too much if there are a few bits of lettuce or spring onion left in the bowl).
Add the onion and garlic to the bowl, and chop 5 seconds / Speed 4. Scrape down and add the oil, then cook the onion and garlic 5 minutes / Varoma temperature / Reverse / Speed Spoon / MC off.
Add the peeled potato cut into large cubes, then chop 3 Seconds / Speed 4 / MC on, then add 1,000g cold water and crumbled stock cubes / 1,000g cold stock, and cook 10 minutes / 100C /Speed 2 / MC on.
Add 400g of the petit pois and cook for a further 7 minutes / 100C /Speed 2 / MC on, and then blend 1 minute / turning slowly up to Speed 10. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper (I add 1/2 tsp salt and a good couple of pinches of freshly ground black pepper, but it will depend on the saltiness of your stock).
Add the shredded ham (if using), the remaining 200g petit pois and cook 4 minutes / 100C / Reverse / Speed 1.5 / MC off. Add the lettuce and spring onions (and the feta and mint, if making the vegetarian version), gently push into the soup, then cook for a final 1 minute / 100C / Reverse / Speed 1.5 / MC off before serving. Top with your garnishes of choice, if using and enjoy with some warm crusty bread and butter!