Spring Pea Soup
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
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.