A Cool Soup for A Hot Summer

This is an incredibly easy recipe with a great payoff. The blending and straining is the only thing that takes a little effort, and even that is very simple after you've been through the process once or twice. If you have a stick blender and a chinois (a conical-shaped strainer), then blending and straining becomes faster and easier. But a blender and a regular strainer will always work too. I'll share a few comments about the specialty tools in the next post.

Cool Pea Soup    

2 slices bacon, chopped
2 large shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons white wine
1 pound peas, frozen are fine in this recipe!
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus additional for garnish
Optional: goat cheese, small vegetables for garnish, garlic toasts

Special equipment:
     Stick blender or blender
     Chinois or large strainer  

  1. Add bacon and shallots to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until soft. Bacon does not need to get crisp.
  2. Add white wine and turn heat to high. Boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Add peas and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from stove and allow to cool.
  5. Blend the soup. A stick blender is the easiest tool for this job, since the soup can be blended neatly in the pan. Otherwise, carefully transfer in batches to a blender or food processor.
  6. Strain soup through a Chinois or larger strainer into a bowl. Press on the solids to release as much liquid as possible. Scrape the outside of the strainer to get the excess into the bowl.
  7. Taste and season with S & P. Chill 30 minutes.
  8. Blend in cream and serve or return to chill. Garnish with goat cheese, a drizzle of cream, small vegetables, etc.

Notes about the picture above: when I made this particular soup for the first time a few months ago, I happened to have on hand some homemade Fromage Blanc - a soft cheese made from buttermilk. It's like goat cheese, but with a very mild flavor. I also had shallot confit - several shallots cooked slowly in oil, with a little garlic and thyme, then strained. The Fromage Blanc and Shallot Confit are what you see as garnishes, along with a couple peas and baby tomatos from our garden.

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