No Waste Chilled Pea Pod Soup

  • Serves: Serves 4
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Springtime and into early summer brings a bounty of new ingredients, including English peas. Go for medium pods rather than large, thick-skinned ones, which are more mature and contain larger, tougher peas. Break open a pod and check the peas inside. They should be small, bright green, and firm; if you taste one, it should be tender and sweet. However, shelling pea pods to get at fresh peas can be a chore. These pods pile up and generate food waste. I've often wondered if there was anything I could do with this waste. I finally found an intriguing sweet pea soup recipe, and think it's a winner. ​Shell and trim your pea pods, discarding any that are browned or withered, and keeping the ones that look fresh and bright. These you’ll rinse well, drain, and use for this soup recipe. The pods alone don't last very long, so freeze in a resealable container if you're not going to use them right away. There's no need to thaw before using in the recipe.
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INGREDIENTS

olive oil
1 small shallot or onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
pea pods from 2 1/2 pounds (1.2 kg) fresh green peas, stems and attached strings removed, rinsed and drained (no need to thaw them if frozen)
salt

2 tablespoons dry white wine
4 cups (1 liter) vegetable or chicken stock, brought to a simmer
freshly grated nutmeg 
freshly ground black pepper
chili pepper sauce, such as Tabasco or red pepper flakes

few stems of fresh herbs, such as sage or chives
Chive flowers, optional
Thin toasted slices of sourdough bread, optional

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Place a small amount of olive oil in a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed soup pot, and heat over medium-high heat.

2. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until softened, stirring regularly.

3. Add the pea pods, season with salt, and cook for a few minutes. If the pea pods have been frozen, cook until the liquids have evaporated.

4. Add the white wine, and cook for a minute.

5. Add the hot stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the pods are quite soft. Remove from the heat and let cool, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

6. Using a blender or an immersion blender, process the mixture in short pulses until all the pods are broken down into chunks; they will not puree because of their fibers.

7. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and ladle a few spoonfuls of the soup into the strainer.
Press on the pea pod solids in the strainer with the back of a large spoon to strain out as much of the liquids as you can.
Reserve the solids in another bowl and strain them again after the first pass. Then discard solids.

8. Add in nutmeg to taste.

9. Refrigerate until well chilled. To speed up the cooling, set the bowl in a larger bowl filled with cold water and a few ice cubes. 

SERVE
Pour the soup into bowls, add freshly ground pepper with a dash of hot sauce. Garnish with a stem or two of fresh herbs, and chive flowers.
Serve with thin, toasted slices of sourdough bread.

STORAGE
Soup stays refrigerated for a few days. It can be frozen for a month or more. Thaw in the refrigerator.

 

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