My local Woolworths (SA’s answer to Marks&Spencer) has a beetroot and apple soup that is just gorgeous, and it is cream free. I like it served chilled with some crunch, some oil and some wine. But can’t eat the same soup every day – so have been scouting around for alternatives.
A few weeks ago I had mistakenly bought a packet of minted peas to go with dinner. Tried them out on the Nans who swiftly turned up their noses. They were petite pois, coated in an oil that made them a bit slimy. And the skins were hard. Didn’t bother me but the Nans decreed them to be ‘just weird’ and assured me they would never eat them. Not one to waste a purchase, I decided to turn them into a soup: took all of 20 minutes to prep, including the garnish – and we ate the lot in two chilled sittings.
You don’t have to use minted peas – any frozen variety will work just as well – but the small ones are sweeter. The stock is important as there are so few ingredients, and I beg you to use one you made from roast chicken bones, or (if you are in the US) one of the great commercially available versions. A weak-assed stock will make this a wimpy-assed soup. And that just won’t do at all.
1 big packet of frozen peas
3 cups chicken stock (I guess you could use vegetable stock if you have a full-bodied tasty one to hand)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine peas and stock in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until peas are bright green and tender, 10 minutes tops.
4. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
5. Pour the cooked peas into a blender, and carefully blend them until they are puréed. Remember if the mix is too hot it will expand as it blends and you could end up with an explosion of green all over the kitchen.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste, strain to remove all solids. Throw these in the bin, or, if you are like me, eat them straight from the strainer with some grated parmesan.
7. Put in the fridge to cool thoroughly
Use whatever you fancy – I had some chorizo lurking around in the cheese drawer – so I fried that until really crispy and then ground it into a spicy salt which I sprinkled liberally across the soup. I also chopped up some avocado and cucumber and stirred that through. Then cubed some stale bread and baked it in the oven to make croutons which I tossed in the chorizo salt. Finished it off with a drizzle of peppery extra virgin olive oil that had been enriched with Chipotle. It was delicious.
For lunch the next day I threw in the remainder of the avo/cucumber mix and topped with another splish of the oil. Just as good. If you do like Sour cream/crème fraiche – dollop some of that in. I am sure it would be wonderful. And give it a good grind of black pepper.
And there you have it: summer in a soup plate.