Do you keep a bag of inexpensive frozen peas in the freezer? Me too! First, they're handy when a soup or stew needs a dash of color at the end. But the real reason? They're a major supper saver! Add a few pantry ingredients and you won't believe the great soup that starts with a simple bag of peas. Really!
Oh. And for my fellow procrastinators? The very very green color makes this soup perfect for an impromptu St. Patrick's Day meal.
~Recipe updated & republished 2015 for a little St. Patrick's inspiration~
"... it was fantastic! .. I'm keeping this recipe on hand for when I'm pantry-diving before payday!" ~
"This is fabulous! It's good by itself, but it's wonderful with the egg!" ~ acr
In 1912, my London-born maternal grandfather emigrated to Canada. He arrived on St Patrick’s Day and some times I wonder what he'd 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!
Grandpa S 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.
SERVING IDEAS My favorite way to serve this soup is with a hot poached egg on top, How to Poach a Perfect Egg. It's easy!
For something less rustic, almost elegant, let the blender run for a good minute or two for a very very smooth soup. Then add a cup of light cream and serve in small portions as a starter.
In addition, if you can remove the skins, you’ll net only four cups of soup but the smooth creaminess will create a moment of sheer, if silent, appreciation. I use a metal, cone-shaped device called a china cap or chinois. Look for one in good kitchen stores and online at Amazon. I inherited my mother's, she used it for tomato juice. A food mill may work too.
VERY VERY GREEN GREEN-PEA SOUP
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 6 cups
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 4 cups chicken stock, No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock or not
- 16 ounces (424g) frozen green peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large, heavy pot on medium high, melt the butter. Add the onion and ginger and sauté until soft, really letting color develop. Stir in the cardamom and let cook for a minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the peas and simmer, uncovered, until the peas are 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, see the picture below!) You can also use an immersion blender but the soup will be decidedly more rustic and fibrous. (Check the texture of the top photo, I used an immersion blender for it.)
Return the soup to the pan and and bring back to temperature. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
The soup can be made ahead and refrigerated. Good news, it freezes well too.
A Humble Bag of Peas: Supper Saver
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 more than once every couple of years. 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.
MANY THANKS Many thanks to Dinner a Love Story for permission to use her photo of Trader Joe's peas – which, by the way, are excellent!
Take Care with Hot Liquids in 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.
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