Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Green Pea Soup

I don't think it's any big secret that I love soup.  Love it, love it, love it.  Morning, noon, and night.  I always try to keep some on hand so I have have something nutritious instead of reaching for the chips.

I watch a couple of cooking shows and competitions and lately I've seen them featuring pea soup.  I had never had green pea soup nor have I made it (not split pea mind you....that's a whole other (and wonderful) dish).  But I love peas (I always keep a bag in the freezer and pour a bowl out, let them thaw, and then snack on them).  So why wouldn't I like pea soup?  Turns out I do.  A lot.  It is absolutely delicious, nutritious, filling, and incredibly low in fat and calories (lighten it even more by using cooking spray instead of butter in the first step) and high in fiber.

I researched some recipes and they're all pretty basically the same.  This is just about as easy as you can get.  Peas, a leek, some mint, and broth.  While I like mint, I wasn't sure how it was going to come out.  But nothing could have complemented the soup as well. 

A few notes.  Note that this recipe calls for kosher salt and, in my opinion, too much.  So start out with much less....you can always add more.  And if you do use table salt instead, be sure to use half of what the recipe calls for or you will end up with salt soup. 

Also, this is a soup that can be served chilled or warm.  I'm not a big fan of chilled soup (I make gazpacho only once or twice a year), but this is a good one if you do like it cold. 

GREEN PEA SOUP (4 servings....well, maybe!)

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and rinsed, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
2 tsp kosher salt, divided (start with much less and add to taste)
2 1/2 cups homemade vegetable broth or 1 cup low-sodium canned vegetable broth mixed with 1 1/2 cups water
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper, more as needed
3 cups shelled fresh peas (about 2 1/2 pounds of peas in their pods) or 1 (16 oz) package frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves (stems and hard veins removed)
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
Creme fraiche or sour cream for garnish, optional

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming.  Add the leek, 1/2 tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

Add the broth, remaining salt (start with 1/2 tsp and add more to your taste), and any more pepper you would like and bring to a boil.  Add the peas and bring to a boil again.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes (not necessary if using thawed frozen peas).

Remove the pan from the heat, add the mint leaves and stir to combine.  Let sit uncovered until the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.

Using a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth (you may need to remove the small cap on the lid and cover with a kitchen towel to allow the steam to escape and prevent splatter). 

Transfer the soup to a clean saucepan (if serving warm) or a heatproof bowl and stir in the lemon juice.  Taste and season with any salt, pepper, or lemon juice if necessary.

Top with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream, if desired.

Recipe Source:  www.chow.com

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