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Spring Pea Soup

May 28, 2008

Home sweet home. Ah, how great it is to be back! We spent Memorial weekend out of town at a family wedding, and while it was so much fun — the wedding was beautiful, the weather was nice, and spending time with family was just wonderful — I was equally happy to get back to my kitchen afterwards!

You may remember that for awhile, I was making soups on the weekend, during the gloomy, chilly winter and early spring months. Last week, before we left for the trip, the weather seemed to be on rewind: we had a few days of chilly, clammy, drizzly weather, which left me rethinking what I had been anticipating making with all the lovely spring produce starting to show up. Hence the spicy warm rhubarb compote, and this soup! Bright green, subtly sweet, it packs a huge amount of flavor from the easy-to-make pea stock that you prepare beforehand. If you shell the peas ahead of time (this is a great activity to have kids help with, or to do while watching tv!), the entire soup comes together in 30-40 minutes. Garnished with snipped chives, a drizzle of cream and chive blossoms, we ate this soup hot, since the weather was calling for something a little warming — but I’m equally excited to serve it chilled for a light lunch on a warm spring day.

This recipe comes from the book Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen, and is spring in a bowl: bright green color, intense pea flavor, and lighter in body. It only takes about 5-10 minutes to make the actual soup, so to really optimize the flavor, I followed her recommendations to make a quick pea stock beforehand, using lettuce leaves, scallions, parsley, and pea pods.

After wilting these vegetables and simmering them in water for about 20 minutes, you’re left with a bright greenish-yellow stock, full of the flavors of spring.

I used a combination of frozen organic peas, as well as the peas I had removed from the shells I used in the stock to make the actual soup. A quick saute of scallions or leeks, a simmer of the peas with the stock, a minute blitz with the immersion blender, a pinch of seasonings and this soup is ready to go.

One last note; if you’re going to save any of the soup, you’ll probably want to cool it down in an ice-water bath to preserve the bright green color.

And, finally — off topic here — I should mention that today is the posting date for the May Daring Baker’s Challenge! I’m pretty sad to say that because of how crazy-busy May was for B and I, I wasn’t able to fit this one in — but I’ll be back with another DB challenge in June (believe me, it just kills me that I wasn’t able to fit this one in; it’s a good one!) In the meantime, I plan to check out all the other DBers’ creations, and you can too by visiting the Daring Bakers Blogroll.


Spring Pea Soup

From Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen


For the stock:
1 teaspoon butter
1 bunch scallions, including the greens, chopped
6 parsley branches
8 butter lettuce leaves (outer leaves are fine; I substituted Boston lettuce), torn
sea salt or kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper
3 cups clean pea pods (use the peas you remove in the soup below)

For the soup:
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion, spring onion, or young leek, white part only
2 cups fresh or frozen peas (from 3 cups peas, I got about 1/2 cup fresh peas, and supplemented it with frozen organic peas)
1/2 teaspoon sugar


Make the stock:
Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the scallions, parsley, lettuce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Wilt over medium heat for a few minutes, then pour in 5 cups of water, add the pea pods, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then strain.

Make the soup:
Melt the butter in a soup pot, then add the scallions (or spring onion or leek) and saute for about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of the stock (or water, if you didn’t make the stock) so the scallions stews without browning. Cook for about 4-5 minutes. Now add the fresh/frozen peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the sugar. Pour in 2 1/2 cups stock (or water), bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, until the peas are bright green.

Transfer the soup to a blender, or if you have an immersion blender, use that right in the soup pot. Puree the soup for 1 minute, until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed.

Serve, garnished with snipped chives, chive blossoms, and a drizzle of heavy cream.

Serves 4.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2008 9:38 am

    Bookmarked…this one sounds delicious!

  2. May 28, 2008 10:06 am

    That soup is just bursting with color! It’s beautiful and it sounds delicious too!

  3. May 28, 2008 10:45 am

    That looks great. I bet the chilled version would be good with some crème fraîche and mint…

  4. May 28, 2008 11:18 am

    Vegteable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen is one of the most gorgeous cookbooks ever. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while and seeing your post may be the push I need to make it myself!

  5. May 28, 2008 4:35 pm

    Gorgeous! Love the contrast of the purple chive blossom against the rich green soup.

  6. May 28, 2008 4:44 pm

    I love that color combination of green and purple! Sounds delicious, too!

  7. May 28, 2008 6:42 pm

    I’ll just second and third everyone else who stopped by to compliment you on this amazing color combo 🙂

  8. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink permalink
    May 28, 2008 8:51 pm


    This is absolutely beautiful! And it sounds completely delicious too. Welcome back!


  9. May 28, 2008 9:47 pm

    Wow so vibrant. I bet this tastes amazing!

  10. May 29, 2008 8:00 am

    wouldn’t I love be served with something so delicious and decorated with a flower? 🙂

  11. May 29, 2008 11:25 am

    the color just perked my whole day right up.

  12. May 29, 2008 2:55 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for sometime now and I really love your recipes. And this one would be perfect for this time of the year!

    Beautiful photos as well!

  13. May 29, 2008 9:19 pm

    What a nice vibrantly green pea soup!

  14. May 29, 2008 9:27 pm

    That is incredibly delicious looking and incredibly beautiful with that flower!!! oh yuuuum!

  15. May 30, 2008 7:40 am

    This is such a gorgeous soup. I love the green and purple colour combination. It is spring in a bowl!

  16. May 31, 2008 4:46 pm

    Beautiful photo. I can’t do peas,force fed them as a kid and can’t bare to eat them. Too bad you made them look good.

  17. June 10, 2008 8:29 am

    That is such a beautiful photo! It looks so refreshing and comforting at the same time. Love the chive flower as well.

  18. June 9, 2010 10:22 pm

    What a great way to use all those fresh veggies. This looks beautiful!

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