How to get lots of meals from a bacon joint

split pea soupHere’s how to get a lot of soup, some crackling and lots of meat all from one inexpensive joint. I stopped eating pork a few years ago, so here’s a thrifty post from guest contributor Rosie Slosek who’s much better equipped to tell you all about it.

Rosie runs One Man Band Accounting, providing Do Your Own Tax Return Support to one man bands in the UK who prefer their money to go to the finer things in life, like food and cake. She’s also the author of The Tax Return Toolkit, the easy, fun, cake-filled guide to your tax paperwork. Click the link above to find out more, and also look out for the related PennyGolightly Toolkit offer and giveaway this coming January (one lucky winner will be getting their Toolkit for free). You can follow her on Twitter too: @1ManBandAccts

Over to you, Rosie!


Soup. Warm, comforting, filling, nutritious, healthy, cheap. This is the story of how you can make many bowls of beautiful soup and have a joint of meat ‘left over’.

Part 1: The Meat

1. You need a slow cooker, or a large pan if you don’t have one of those culinary delights – I’m a recent convert to slow-cooker-dom myself.

2. Buy a joint of bacon or gammon. You can get them reduced at this time of year and they’re not expensive anyway.

3. Remove the fat from the top, put on a plate and keep in the fridge uncovered.

4. Put your joint into slow cooker after taking off any bits of string wrapped around the meat. Fill the slow cooker with water, a halved onion, a bit of pepper (no salt), a few spices and maybe a cheeky bay leaf.

5. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Low is better if you can do it as the meat is more succulent. If you’re using a saucepan, simmer for a few hours with the lid mostly on.

6. Take the meat out, leave to rest. Serve hot, or leave to cool. It’s up to you how you use this gorgeous tender meat. It freezes beautifully.

7. Cool the cooking liquid down after taking the whole spices and onion out. Throw away the spices (they can’t go on the compost as it will attract rats). The onion can go in a pot of soup, vegetable is good.

Part 2: The Crackling

1. When the bacon or gammon fat has dried on top, score it in a criss cross pattern.

2. Roast in a hot oven, preferably when it’s already hot from something else so you don’t waste energy.

3. Mine usually takes 30-40 minutes, your mileage will vary. Enjoy.

Part 3: The Soup

1. Soak yellow or green split peas in cold water overnight or for 8 hours. Split peas are easy to buy and super cheap, nutritious, high protein and filling.

2. Put soaked split peas into slow cooker (the amount depends on your cooker. I use 4-5 handfuls for my 3.5 litre model).

3. Add your bacon or gammon cooking liquid to the highest point you can without overfilling (less if you’re using the high setting as it will froth a bit).

4. Cook on high for 3-4 hours and low for 8-10 hours. If you’re using a saucepan, simmer with the lid mostly on for 1-2 hours until the peas start to disintegrate. How long it takes depends on the age of the peas.

5. Stir and serve. Cool the leftovers, and they will keep for a week in the fridge or you can freeze it.

That’s it! A lot of tasty, nutritious, filling food that’s cheap, easy and goes a long long way from just one joint and a packet of split peas.

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