Peas are taken for granted. They are served on the side of something else and well, they’re green and most people like them. You know, we really need to take another look at peas. This soup is superb for a hot summer night. It beautiful. It’s refreshing and more importantly, it is delicious. Don’t be put off by the mint…or rather the amount of the mint. I promise when you dip your spoon into the bowl, and ever so slowly experience your first taste, your thought will not be of mouthwash! I promise. Really, I do. But, now that I’ve mentioned it, mouthwash might be in your head, so I am sorry about that. But, you’ll forget all about it after the first spoonful. The Latin Lover loves this. Last night served it with Oeufs Mayonnaise (Eggs Cloaked in Mayonnaise) on sliced garden tomatoes, some great whole-grained, heavily seeded bread and life was good at our house! When the temperature hits the 90°F range, that’s the 30°C range for the rest of the world. That’s right, The Goddess speaks both Fahrenheit, as well as Celsius! Who knew she was “bilingual”? Anyway, this soup is the perfect antidote for the heat of summer. More good news? It goes together quickly, is even better made at least 24 hours before you plan on serving and it keeps for at least 4 days in the fridge (I just finished the last up, after a week in the fridge—still delicious!). Oh, yes…did I mention that it is a spectacular green?
I have a tendency to make this on the thick side, almost pudding-like. But, when I serve it to guests, I usually serve it a bit on the thinner side. You know, like normal people prefer to eat soup! I also use thawed, frozen peas. I’ve use both “regular” and sweet petite peas. I’m not certain I can taste a difference, but the petite peas will make for a slightly smoother soup, as I just use my immersion blender and I don’t strain it. I like the slight texture. Are you getting the sense that I’m making this to my liking? Exactly. And you should, too. At least now and then. So let’s make soup!
I don’t have pictures of this phase of our recipe…head just wasn’t in the game! So, heat a large-ish pot over medium-low heat. Toss in the oil, leeks and onion. Cook about ten minutes. You want the onions/leeks to be tender, but don’t let them color. Pour in the lesser amount of stock and turn the heat up. When the broth boils, add the thawed peas. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the salt, pepper, mint and lemon zest. Let cool for 15 minutes. Whisk in the crème frâiche (or heavy cream or plain yogurt…they’re all delicious options) and lemon juice, if using. Purée the soup either with an immersion blender, right in the pot or purée in a regular blender (remember, don’t over-fill the blender) in batches. I tried using the food processor once…no! Taste. The soup should taste just a tad salty, if it’s still quite warm. When it’s chilled, it will be perfectly seasoned. Cold numbs our taste buds, so we don’t taste salt at the same level when foods are cold. So chill the soup thoroughly. I chill it at least overnight. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle each bowl with chives (I didn’t, because my chives are just barely growing–it was still delicious without them), a drizzle of your best olive oil and a dollop of crème frâiche, if you wish and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Top with croutons or serve with toast points or any good bread, on the side.
And that’s really all there is to it. I prefer to use part leeks, part onion, but I’ve made it will all onions and it’s still wonderful. I’ve been toying with the idea of use fresh dillweed, but I haven’t tried it yet. I just love the freshness the mint adds, but I think dill could be delicious, too.
Just one thing, make some crème frâiche. It’s drop-dead easy, it keeps well and it has a myriad of uses. I put a dollop on a slice of Stone Fruit Pie and I liked it better than whipped cream. I’m thinking of adding a bit to the next batch of vanilla ice cream I make. Here’s how: Stir together 1 cup whipping (or heavy) cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk, in a glass container (use glass, because plastic can sometimes harbor other flavors). Cover with plastic; let stand at room temperature (about 70°F, about 21°C) from 8 to 24 hours. Give it a little stir occasionally. It will be very thick when it’s ready.
Chilled Princess-and-the-Pea Soup
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 cup chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (or sub in extra onion)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion
- 4-5 cups vegetable or chicken stock (you may need more)
- 2 16-ounce bags frozen sweet peas
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (use the whole amount-I used 2/3 cup)
- 2-3 teaspoons kosher (or to taste—see NOTE)
- 2 teaspoons fresh very coarsely ground black pepper
- Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (if needed)
- 1/2 cup crème frâiche, heavy cream or Greek-style plain yogurt (see NOTE)
- 1/2 cup finely snipped fresh chives
- Crème frâiche, for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper
In large sauce pan heat oil over medium-low heat. Add the oil, leeks and onion, and cook about ten minutes or until tender; do not let them color. Add stock. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Add peas and cook 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat; add salt, pepper, mint and lemon zest. Cool to room temperature.
Whisk in crème frâiche and lemon juice, if using; puree soup. Chill the soup thoroughly.
To serve, sprinkle each bowl with chives, a drizzle of good olive oil and a dollop of crème frâiche, if you wish. Top with garlic croutons or serve with toast points on the side.
NOTE: When you taste the soup while hot, it should taste just slightly on the salty side. When it’s chilled, the salt level will be perfect. If you plan to serve this soup warm, then use the lesser amount of salt.
You can make your own crème frâiche very easily by combining 1 cup whipping (or heavy) cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container (use glass, because plastic can sometimes harbor other flavors). Cover with plastic; let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. It will become very thick. Stir well; cover tightly and refrigerate up to 10 days. The soup can be made up to 4 days before serving, and stored, tightly covered, in the fridge.
Chilled Princess-and-the-Pea Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018. All rights reserved.