Peawack soup – lest we forget

It’s 2nd January and back to work. Belts need to be tightened post-Christmas (financially, at least. Real belts have been loostened a notch or two). So I wanted to share a very frugal family recipe. Peawack soup brings a sort of hazy glaze of joy and nostalgia to my husband’s eyes. Brought up in Liverpool in the 60s, this is the taste of his childhood and has a mythical status in his family. His father Stan, a Liverpool wharfinger, used to make this so it is known to the younger members of the clan as Grandad’s soup.

Take the water you have boiled a gammon in and add half a cup each of pearl barley, split peas and lentils (which have all been soaked overnight in cold water – or not, if you aren’t organised), diced carrots (about three), diced swede, one large potato diced and some chopped greens either sprouts or cabbage. Add lots of black pepper. Bring to boil and simmer on a low heat for about an hour so that the lentils and split peas are breaking down and thickening the soup.

That is basically it. Remember to stir it quite often because the barley tends to stick and also if it is salty add extra potato to absorb the salt. My sister in law says that other veg like celery, leaks or frozen peas can be added but when she was little these were not included because they were not readily available.

It’s hearty and delicious and helps my husband remember his roots back in Liverpool. My children, though southern-softies love it and it helps us remember Stan, who survived incarceration as a POW, he used to scare them as babies with his gurning, and is much missed by us all.

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