About this recipe: A traditional soup made by my parents and grandparents and a traditional winter soup in Northern Ireland and especially popular served as a starter to Christmas dinner. Pure, simple, wholesome comforting and natural food. As with all one pot dishes, it always tastes better the following day when all the ingredients have had time to marinate and got to know each other so if you want to impress, make it the day before serving. Enjoy.
Serve alone, with Irish wheaten bread or ciabatta.
Be sure to use vegetable stock for a vegan / vegetarian version. If not using fresh stock, I find bouillon very good. The more peas you put in, the thicker the soup.
I cannot emphasise enough that this soup is always better served the following day and well worth the wait. This recipe requires a lot of salt so its best to check the seasoning yourself and adjust if necessary.
To make it into a chicken soup, boil a small chicken or boiling fowl in 2 to 3L water, with 8 peppercorns, 1 to 2 carrots, 2 sticks celery, bay leaf, until meat falls away from bone. Lift out chicken and separate meat from the rest and reserve when cool. Discard bones, fat, skin etc. Strain cooking water into bowl and put in fridge after 2 hours for at least 3 hours. Skim off fat that has formed on top and use the remaining liquid as stock for soup adding more water if required.
For beef soup, ask your butcher for a beef bone for soup and cook in 2 to 3L water along with some celery, carrots, peppercorns, salt and pepper for around 3 hours, the longer the better. Strain stock into bowl and discard the rest. Follow instructions for chicken. Fry cubed beef until brown for 2 to 3 minutes and remove. Add browned beef at beginning with dried ingredients as for vegetable soup.
3 tbsp salt is WAY too much, esp. as the stock is already salty. Suggest you try before you add any salt. Also pls specify the size of the soup mix packet. All I could find in Sainsbury's was 500g and that was a bit too much. Even on a simmer, the pulses sank to the bottom of the plan... so you have to keep stirring regularly or it will burn. - 18 Jan 2015
Just made this as I had some soup mix doing nothing in my larder. Really tasty, used same amount of soup mix as dried peas (200g). But no way I was going to put 3 Tbsp of salt in, does not need this with the salt in the stock etc. Also made some wheaten bread to go with it (used a recipe which adds butter to soften the bread), absolutely lovely homely grub. Also leave it for a day and the taste just gets even better. - 08 Aug 2016