Meatless Monday: Chilled pea soup
Crisp, fresh spring peas with their beautiful, light flavor create a delicate soup.
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If you don’t have your own pea plant, many farmers market vendors sell the pea tendrils, which are also good sautéed with a little olive oil and garlic. Ask the farmers for pea pods as well.Skip to next paragraph
The Runaway Spoon
Perre Magness has studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France has broadened her own culinary skill and palate. The kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.
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For the stock:
2 ounces pea pods
2 ounces pea tendrils (more if you have them)
8 cups water
For the soup:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot
12 ounces fresh shelled English peas (or thawed frozen)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
Crème fraiche to garnish
Pea tendrils to garnish
For the stock:
Wash the pea pods and the pea tendrils and shake to dry. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and leave the stock to simmer for 1 hour. Strain out the pea pods and tendrils and leave the stock to cool. You can make the stock one day ahead if you are using frozen peas. If you are using freshly podded peas, finish the soup on the same day. You should have about 5 cups of stock.
For the soup:
Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan. Finely chop the shallot and add it to the pan. Sauté the shallots over medium heat until they are soft and translucent. Do not let them brown. Add the peas and stir quickly, then pour over 5 cups of pea stock. If you have another handful of pea tendrils, add them as well. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, or until the peas are completely tender. If you have added pea tendrils, fish them out now. A few stray leaves left in the pot are fine.
Puree the soup using a hand blender, or very carefully in batches in the blender. For a velvety and refined soup, pass the soup through a sieve, scraping and pushing to extract as much liquid as possible, leaving behind the forlorn pea skins. Leave the soup to cool, then refrigerate until chilled. When ready to served, whisk in the heavy cream and salt to taste. Return to the fridge to chill if needed.
Whisk the soup well, and serve with a dollop of crème fraiche, garnished with a lovely curling pea tendril.
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