Just because it’s 100 degrees out right now is no reason to cut soups out of your diet. Chilled soups are incredibly satisfying. They pack a full meal of nutrients and taste in a tiny little bowl, plus is a meal guaranteed to cool you down. Most recipes with fresh peas are generally have the word “spring” in their titles, however I never seem to be able to find them at the market until late June. To me, once the thermometer hits a consistent 80°F plus, we’re in full on summer.
I’ve probably consumed a few quarts of peas since I spotted them a couple of weeks ago. As a locavore, when something comes into season, you gorge yourself, knowing that once they’re gone it will be another year before you can enjoy them fresh again. I might have eaten my weight in strawberries this spring, but I’m already starting to miss them. Hopefully the 6 jars of jam will tide me over. I’ve made a Middle Eastern inspired ground lamb dish, one of my favorite “regulars” and some carbonara unfortunately not good enough to share. However, this soup is balanced, flavorful and perfect hot or cold.
What I love most about this recipe is its simplicity. A lot of other recipes out there choose to incorporate fava beans. Nothing against fava beans, but have you ever tried to shell them? Not the easiest task. I buy my fresh peas already shelled (you can use frozen peas but I highly advise against it if you can still find them fresh) and use a 50% blend of sliced snap peas. No shelling or peeling, just cook and puree. The trick is to add the peas at the almost last-minute to maintain their bright almost neon color. The rest of the ingredients don’t really look so hot as they cook, a muddled green-grey, but add in those peas and I promise, pure magic.
Chilly Summer Pea Soup (Adapted from Food & Wine) Serves 4-6
- 4 slices bacon
- 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
- 3 celery ribs, diced
- 6 c chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 c sliced snap peas
- Pinch each salt and pepper
- 4 c fresh peas (frozen will work too)
- 1 c cream
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
In a medium dutch oven cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pot and set aside. In the same pot, add celery and leeks to bacon fat, cooking over medium-low heat until vegetables are soft but not browned. Return bacon to pot and add stock, 1 sprig of rosemary, snap peas, salt and pepper. Cook covered until vegetables are very soft, about 20 minutes. Discard bacon and rosemary. Transfer mixture to food processor or blender and puree in batches. Don’t be alarmed, it won’t look pretty yet.
Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add fresh peas and cook 2-3 minutes until bright green. Drain peas and puree until smooth, adding a few tablespoons of broth to loosen the mixture if necessary. Stir into soup and watch the dull grey color turn bright green. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Transfer soup to a covered bowl and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
In a small saucepan bring heavy cream, garlic and remaining rosemary sprig to a slow boil. Simmer over low heat until slightly reduced then remove from heat and cover, allowing flavors to steep 30 minutes. Strain mixture into a small container and chill along side soup.
When ready to serve, ladle chilled pea soup into bowls and drizzle with garlic cream. Serve immediately.
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