London is famous for its fogs, but the really famous fog, the London Particular or Pea-Souper never happens now. Oh, it still gets foggy in London occasionally, but the yellow-tinged, lung-searing mix of smoke from coal fires and mist from the London basin, was ended by the clean air acts of the 1950s and 60s. It is just as well. Thick fogs sound romantic and very Sherlockian, but the last Great Smog of 1952, which lasted four days, is estimated to have contributed to the deaths of 12,000 people.
If the fogs have gone, the soup remains. This can be made with green or yellow split peas and I have stuck with yellow. The original recipe would include a ham bone, or a bacon joint. I have included a sprinkle of smoked paprika to add a smoky hit to the soup. If you have some smoked salt, that would be good added in right at the end, too.
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
200g split peas
1l veg stock
1 bay leaf
1/2tsp fresh thyme
Smoked paprika for garnish
Soften the onion, celery and carrot in a little oil in a large saucepan.
Once the onion is translucent add the split peas, stock, bay leaf and thyme.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer for 90 minutes or until the peas will break apart when pushed against the side of the pan.
Stir vigorously to break up the peas a little.
Check the seasoning and serve with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
Serves 2 with a little extra for seconds