Thursday, 23 January 2014

A Really Simple Pea Soup!

The weather has been a little chilly and wintry lately and it seems that the obvious foods to cook and eat are warm and comforting stews and other similar type dishes. Thankfully, the days are beginning to lengthen and in no time at all spring will be here. Whilst I love autumn and winter and the rich and tasty foods on offer, there are times when I want to eat something that helps stave off the cold feeling in my bones but is not heavy to eat. This soup really satisfies these requirements and with its perky green colour it almost anticipates the lovely summery ingredients and produce that will start appearing as spring approaches.

Homemade soups are so easy to make and can be prepared and be ready to dish up in relatively little time. I use frozen peas for this soup and they really work a treat. Some people might turn their noses up at the use of frozen peas, but in my opinion they are far superior to the mealy fresh peas, that have been hanging around for too long and are so often available during the summer. Except for those times when I have my own hone-grown peas freshly picked from the garden available, I would always use frozen peas.
 
As with any green soup, the less you simmer it the better. I blitz this soup in the blender as soon as the peas are cooked so that the vibrancy of its colour is not lost. I also serve it immediately, with a swirl of fresh cream, a few whole peas and some freshly chopped mint. The soup will still taste fabulous if reheated or made ahead of time but the colour may dull a little.
 
I sometimes pass the soup through a fine sieve and whilst this does produce a silky smooth soup, it really isn’t absolutely necessary… do what’s easy for you. The soup will still be delicious.
 
The photographs that accompany this post show the soup presented in white soup bowls, but if you really want to emphasize the beautiful green colour, ladle the soup into blue or turquoise coloured bowls.
 
This is also a great soup to serve chilled in summer on those hot days when you want something easy to prepare, but refreshing to eat.
 

Ingredients:

25g butter
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks of celery roughly chopped
1 x 400g bag of frozen peas
A handful of fresh mint, roughly torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
500ml hot vegetable stock
To serve:
A little cream
Some small mint leaves to garnish
 

Method:

1. Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the onions and celery and sweat, without colouring for about five minutes or until soft. Tip in the peas (still frozen is fine) and add the torn mint. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the hot stock and bring up to a simmer (do not cover the saucepan with a lid). Simmer for about 7-8 minutes until the peas are cooked.
2. Remove the saucepan and blitz the peas in a blender until you have a smooth soup. If liked you can then pass the soup through a fine wire sieve – this will produce a very smooth soup, but it is not necessary.
3. Return the soup to a clean saucepan and heat gently heat through to bring it back up to temperature.
4. Serve hot with a swirl of cream, some whole peas and small sprigs of mint.
 
 
Serves 4-6.