Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cream of Pea Soup

I have always liked peas. I’ve eaten plenty of split pea soup in my life, too, but I wasn’t in the mood for something heavy in the middle of summer. Finding this recipe for cream of pea soup seemed like it might be just the right solution for a light summer meal.

What I don’t like about most cream soups is they taste mostly like cream. It’s like the vegetables were there just to make your mother, or nutritionist, happy. I wanted more robust vegetable flavor. According to America’s Test Kitchen, processing the raw veggies before adding them to the soup helps add flavor and reduce cooking time. Certainly the flavors in this cream of pea soup recipe were brighter and fresher than I expected.

I had a problem, though. My food processor broke down and I’ve not replaced it. I tried using my blender instead, chopping up the peas in batches, but the results were less than desirable. Most of the peas broke up, but I suspect I would have gotten smoother results if I’d used a food processor. Cleaning the blender wasn’t any fun, either

This recipe uses frozen peas, but you can substitute equal amounts of other fresh or frozen vegetables. Broccoli, asparagus, or carrots also make delicious cream soups. You could even try combining them. If you use fresh veggies, I recommend blanching them before chopping them.

Equipment Needed
Cutting board
Chef’s knife
Food processor
Measuring cups and spoons
Large cooking pot or Dutch Oven
Large spoon
Rubber spatula
Blender or Hand Blender

1 yellow onion
1 1/2 pounds frozen peas, thawed
2 Tbl butter
Salt as needed
2 Tbl all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Ground black pepper
Chopped parsley or chives to garnish

Peel and mince the onion into very small pieces and set aside. Place the peas in a food processor and pulse until chopped fine.

Melt the butter in a large cooking pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute more. This removes the “raw” flavor of flour.

Slowly stir in the chicken broth, scraping any browned bits (fond) from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas and simmer until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Puree in batches in batches a food processor or blender. Alternately, you can use a hand blender.

Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the cream. Bring the soup to a brief simmer, then remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives.

Makes 6 main dish or 8 side dish servings.

I like eating cream soups with crusty bread and butter. It makes an excellent light lunch or dinner.

For a vegetarian version of this soup, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

1 comment:

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