Very Very Green Green-Pea Soup

More flavor than you can imagine from a simple bag of frozen peas.

And may I add, Very Very Tasty?
February 26, 2007 A hazard of food writing, whether online or in print, is the constant hunt for new recipes, ones we're really proud of whether spectacularly simple or simply spectacular. Once a recipe is published in Kitchen Parade, it's rare for me to revisit it. But by five o'clock on Friday, the first Friday of Lent, the weather was miserable and my spirit not much better. Refrigerator leftovers didn't appeal; being newly committed to counting points (again), I nixed the temptation of a pizza delivery. Then magic struck, for all the ingredients for this simple soup from a 2004 column were already on hand: peas in the freezer, onion in the pantry, spices and oil in the cupboard, eggs in the fridge. (Take stock: don't you have all the ingredients too?) Still, because our tastes and styles do change, I wondered, Could a soup this simple taste as good as I remember? It can! It did! The green color makes it perfect for St. Patrick's Day but it worked beautifully as a meatless supper for Lent too. And if you too are counting Weight Watchers points? That's supper in four points, a cup of soup and a poached egg. Now that's something to feel proud of.

In 1912, my London-born maternal grandfather emigrated to Canada. He arrived on St Patrick’s Day and some times I wonder what he might think of the rowdy revelries that headline festivities nearly a century later. He loved a party: he’d likely have thought he’d reached the Promised Land!

Grampa Shingleton was a foodie of the first sort, enjoying simple food cooked well and the pleasure of gathering ‘round the table with family and friends.

To delight kids and grown-ups alike, this week serve an All-Green St Patrick’s Supper that includes a Very Green Salad, spinach topped with green pepper and broccoli bits and, oh dear, green goddess dressing. Dessert? That would be Mean Green Gelatin, lime jello with green grapes.

ALANNA's TIPS For an elegant version of this soup, add a cup of light cream to the puréed soup and serve in small portions as a starter. In addition, if you can remove the skins – I use a metal, cone-shaped device my mother once used for tomato juice but a food mill may work – bypass the blender and strain instead. You’ll net only four cups of soup but the smooth creaminess will create a moment of sheer, if silent, appreciation.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Have a favorite meal-of-color menu? Send to recipes@kitchen-parade.com.

VERY VERY GREEN GREEN-PEA SOUP

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 6 cups
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 – 4 cups homemade or canned (2 14-ounce cans) chicken broth
  • 20 – 30 ounces frozen green peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a four-quart Dutch oven over medium high and melt butter. Add onion and ginger and sauté until soft. Stir in cardamom and let cook for a minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add peas and simmer, uncovered, until very tender, about 10 minutes. In batches, purée in blender until very smooth, about a minute per batch. (For safety with hot liquids, fill blender no more than half full.) Return soup to pan and season liberally with salt and pepper. Can be made ahead and refrigerated. Freezes well.

Serving Idea: Top each bowl with a soft-poached egg.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per cup: 151Cal; 9g Protein; 3g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 25g Carb; 8g Fiber; 807mg Sodium; 5mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

LATER NOTES
I've since learned that the metal, cone-shaped device I love (and that's mentioned above) is called a chinois and is available in good kitchen stores and online at Amazon. If you have one, great, but a very very smooth soup can be achieved simply by letting the blender run for a good minute or so with each batch of hot liquid.

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Take Care with Hot Liquids in a Blender


Pay close attention when putting hot liquids into a blender

Hot liquids can 'explode' when you put them into a blender. The best case is that the liquid spurts all over your kitchen, a real mess to clean up. The worst case is that you or others nearby are burned by the hot liquid. This is why extra care must be taken. Here's how to blend hot liquids safely. Even if you've done it many times, this is one time to pay particular attention, to take special care.

Fill the blender no more than half full, even a third full. (This is the most important step.)
Put the lid firmly in place, then place a towel over the top. With one hand, firmly hold the lid tight onto the blender.
With the other hand, select the lowest power setting. As the blender starts, use both hands to hold the top of the blender on tightly.
Transfer the blended liquid to another container, then repeat the process with the remaining hot liquid.


More Quick 'n' Easy Soup Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Winter Tomato Soup Laura's Carrot Soup Homemade Mushroom Soup
~ more soup recipes ~


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A chinois, huh! I have my grandmothers- she used it to make apple butter and plum butter. How exciting to learn it has a name other than "That cone shaped thing of Gramma Cleo's"

The soup sounds interesting I'll have to try it. I've only made split pea soup, never green pea.
Willa

2/26/2007
 
Willa ~ That's what I called my Mom's for the longest time, too! And I can't believe I tried to give it away, it's something I use ALL the time now.

3/05/2007
 
I just made this tonight and it was fantastic! The kitchen I'm in didn't have cardomom so I used a clove of garlic and a bay leaf to add an extra oomph instead, and served it with a poached egg (less photogenic than
yours) and some wholemeal bread. A++ I'm keeping this recipe on hand for when I'm pantry-diving before payday!

3/12/2007
 
This is fabulous! It's good by itself, but it's wonderful with the egg! I tried half-poaching an egg, putting it in the container with the soup and then nuking it at work for lunch. Not bad, but not great either. Any ideas besides taking an egg and my microwave poacher to work?

Don't know how other people mince ginger, but I slice mine into slices about as thick as a nickle, then put them in the garlic press. That way you don't get any of that bitter peel.
 
Hi ACR ~ Thanks!! I love this too, in fact just finished the last of the most recent batch yesterday!

I can't think of a work solution for your poached egg, I suppose that a hard-cooked egg might work, too, though without all that yolky spillover.

Great tip re the garlic, I'm terribly spoiled by being able to get an Asian product of pre-grated ginger that's inexpensive and high-quality.

Thanks for writing!
 
Sounds great, but I'm wondering why you don't suggest using an immersion blender -- does it not get it creamy enough?

Thanks!
 
Lynn ~ I'm not sure! One wouldn't yield the smoothness of a chinois but might work for the more rustic version, especially w more liquid.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna