Chilled Minted Pea Soup

It’s kind of funny how my recipe blogging repertoire works. I’ve got a backlog of at least ten ready to post anytime, but since I usually only share one recipe per week, some of them just miss the seasonal boat. See you in October, pumpkin fondue! Catch you in December, walnut spice Christmas cookies! It is especially funny this week because I have made two green soups in the last little while. One is a hearty winter chard and herb stew, and the other is one of the greatest of summer delights: chilled minted pea soup. I made the pea soup on Thursday night to take for lunch on Friday, and, boy howdy, was I glad I did, because it was 93 degrees. This soup was so intensely refreshing that I seriously would have slurped it up with a straw, like a delicious savory milkshake (alas, no straw was to be found). Ever since then I was sure that recipe was the one I’d post this week. And then today it was rainy, gray, and cold, taking me right back to November–and tomorrow promises more of the same. I am going to post this recipe anyway, as an act of wishful thinking. Maybe it will send some more sunny weather our way.

This recipe is really simple, and you can easily tweak it for texture and consistency. I like that in a recipe: willingness to serve as a template! You start with a good handful of green onions. They are so perfect for this soup because they have a bright and springy flavor without being overpowering at all.

And then there is the mint. The seeds I planted at Easter haven’t sprouted yet, but hope springs eternal! In the meantime, thank you, grocery store.

If you have fresh peas and the time to shell them, they will be outstanding in this recipe. However, if you lack one or the other, frozen peas work well too.

After these three ingredients have softened, you simply add stock or water, boil, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. I am pretty sure I was writing another blog post during that time. Ha! Multitasking.

Then you’re ready for the blender. I definitely consider this the most fun part of the recipe because our blender is a beast. This is what the soup likes like before (and yes, that is my Peet’s coffee in the background…precious nectar!). You can see that there’s a fair bit of liquid at the top–if you’d like your soup thicker, simply reduce the stock.

And this is what it looks like after about 7 seconds in the blender. I told you, it’s a beast! (And now you can see that our Bota Box has joined the party in the background).

Now all that’s left to do is stir in the cream and chill it for several hours. I realize that it looks like a green monster, and I will admit that it sort of made me wonder about the kale smoothies people are raving about. If they taste this good, then I’m game.

Chilled Minted Pea Soup
Adapted from Epicurean.com 

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 5 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
4 cups shelled fresh peas or frozen peas (20 ounces)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or water, if you prefer; reduce liquid if you prefer a thicker soup)
1/2 cup half-and-half (or cream, if you prefer a thicker soup)

-In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Add the peas and mint leaves and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Add the stock or water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I did not add any, and the soup definitely doesn’t demand it, but add it if you like). Let the soup cool to room temperature.
-Transfer the soup in batches to a blender and process until smooth. Return to pot.
-Stir in the half-and-half, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until chilled.
-Stir well before ladling into chilled bowls. Garnish with minced mint leaves, and sliced scallions. Or just slurp it up with a straw at lunch on a hot day. It will be just as delicious.

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