Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Week 5: Fresh Pea Soup

Lots of good stuff in the share this week: Lettuces for salad, beets for roasting, onions for sauteing, summer squash for stuffing, more squash for roasting, and raspberries (yes!) for eating out of hand while cooking all that other stuff. Plus, a good friend gave us a taste of her CSA with a gift of some beautiful scallions and fennel and chard and herbs, in exchange for a couple of squash and some peas.

Let me tell you about the peas. Caboodle and I have shelled a good 10 pounds of peas over the past two weeks. We may have reached the end of the season, as the pea pods this week were positively enormous -- a tad overgrown, really -- with individual peas the size of chickpeas. Still, the peas were nibble-worthy raw, and even better in soup.

Split pea soup, made from dried peas, is definitely stick-to-your-ribs, cold-weather comfort food. I found fresh pea soup, on the other hand, to be something of a revelation: far lighter, more delicate, and quick to cook. As hot soups go, this is a plausible one for a summery day.

Fresh Pea Soup

(Inspired by Ina Garten)

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 medium carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 cups vegetable stock
5 cups shelled fresh peas
2/3 cup chopped mint leaves (loosely packed)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp chopped chives, for garnish (optional)

Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Add the stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the peas, lower the heat, and simmer the soup until the peas are tender, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on size. Remove from the heat and add the mint.

Let the soup cool a couple of minutes, puree it in batches in a blender or food processor, and return it to the soup pot. Add the lemon, salt, and pepper, adjusting seasonings to taste. Reheat the soup if necessary, and serve hot, garnished with chive if desired. Serves 6.

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