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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.

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Spring Pea Soup

From Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

    Amy,

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

    Kristin

  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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