English Pea Soup

There is nothing like Spring. Everything seems to come to life overnight. One of the best things here in Colorado are the lilac bushes with beautiful pops of purple and white all over town! As Spring gets into full swing, I like to start bringing new and fresh flavors into my kitchen. We are not quite ready for the farmer’s market, but luckily Trader Joe’s has already shelled peas that were perfect for this soup. It is easily one of the easiest and best things I have made in a long time. Seriously, SO EASY. Inspired by Thomas Keller’s recipe, the color is just beautiful. Keller’s technique for cooking the peas is key here. You boil the peas in water seasoned with lots of salt and sugar. It ends up being almost all of the seasoning for the soup. The Vitamix makes this perfectly smooth and a lovely texture. As you all know, I am a big fan of homemade chicken stock, I replaced the water in the recipe with chicken stock, not necessary, but a little extra depth. The compliment of lemon creme fraiche really brought it to life. This is one that can be served hot or cold. I ate it both ways and it was great either way. If you are planning to serve this as a main course, the recipe serves two, if it is a starter, you could stretch to four servings, but it is easily doubled or tripled. If you use the shelled peas from Trader Joe’s, I think you need 1 bag per person for a meal. Toast up a little garlic toast on the side for a little crunch. I think this would be a great thing for a shower served in pretty vessels. I know this will grace my table again! If you are looking for something new for Spring, give it a try!

 

English Pea Soup

  • 2 10oz. Bags shelled English Peas (or 3 lbs shelled fresh peas or 3 cups frozen peas)
  • 3 quarts water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock, add half a cup to start and more as needed
  • 4 oz. creme fraiche
  • Zest of one lemon, plus 1 TBSP juice
  • drizzle of good quality olive oil (optional)
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Pea Shoots or Chive for garnish

Bring water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add half of the peas, and boil for 6-8 minutes for fresh, or 4-5 minutes for frozen, or until tender.

Fill a large bowl with water and ice, and have it standing by when the peas are done cooking. Remove the peas from the pot with a skimmer or slotted spoon, and place them directly into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking, and help preserve their bright color. Return the water to a boil and repeat with the rest of the peas.

Drain the cooked peas from the ice water, and add them to a blender or food processor. Add ½ cup fresh stock or water, and puree until completely smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add more water as needed. If you don’t have a powerful blender, you can pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve. (I did not find this to be necessary with my blender, but it might make a silkier soup). Use a scraper or rubber spatula to press all the liquid through. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. I added fresh cracked pepper at this point. You couldn’t see it, but I think it adds something. If the consistency is too thick, add more water to thin as needed. Optionally, stir in a TBSP or so of good quality olive oil, to enhance the velvety texture of the soup and add flavor.

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Soup can be warmed on the stove, or chilled in the fridge before serving. When you’re ready to serve, whisk together the creme fraiche, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Serve alongside the soup, or drizzle it over to garnish (you can thin the creme fraiche with a bit more lemon juice, or water, to create a thin enough consistency for drizzling). Serve as is, or garnish with more olive oil & chopped chives or fresh pea sprouts. TA DA! The perfect way to impress your family or guests!

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