Zaprzak is used to thicken a soup, and add extra flavour. I have noted that it is optional because sometimes I don't add it, as my soup is thick enough and doesn't need it. So if you are happy with the flavour of the soup and the thickness of the soup you don't need to add the zaprzak.
I say to discard the skin, but there are times I add it, especially if it is soft, my family like it.
So with the colder weather coming soon, here is a simple, yet delicious soup, you should try.
500g packet green split peas
1kg ham hock
10 cups (2.5 litres) water
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 swede, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon vegeta
Pepper, to taste
Salt, if needed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon paprika
Place the split peas in a large bowl, top with cold tap water, and leave to soak while you prepare all the vegetables. Drain, discard water, rinse split peas.
Place the hock in a large saucepan. Add the water, split peas, onion, carrot, celery, swede, parsnip, vegeta and pepper. Bring slowly to the boil, reduce heat, simmer 1 1/2 hours with the lid slightly open, or until the peas are reduced to a mush. Add more water if the soup is too thick.
Remove the hock with tongs. Remove all the meat from the bone and cut it into small bites, discard skin and bone. Season soup with salt now if needed.
Make the zaprzak: In a small frypan add the oil, flour and paprika, once hot, fry for a minute. Add 2 ladles of cold tap water and mix it in. Add zaprzak to the soup. Return meat to the soup, simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with crusty bread.
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