Tuesday 31 May 2011

Pea Pod & Mint Soup. Plus a visit from the Fairy Hobmother!

The humble pea is one of my favourite vegetables. There is just something irresistible about its vibrant green colour and sweet flavour. I love how each tiny pea is encased in its own outer jacket, each one a mini vegetable in its own right. A bag of frozen peas is one of my staple freezer ingredients. There is nothing wrong with frozen peas, if fact in most cases they are actually tastier and more nutritious this way than fresh, as peas very quickly loose all sweetness and nutritional quality from the minute they are picked. Frozen peas are usually picked and frozen within 4 hours, meaning you get them almost as fresh as can be. Packets of so called ‘fresh peas’ in supermarkets have probably been sitting around for at least 4-5 days, meaning those once sweet peas will be hard cardboard bullets by the time you eat them.

However, if you can get your hands on some fresh peas, home grown, picked and eaten within a few hours, they are sublime! I am fortunate enough to know someone who has a farm growing veg and last weekend she was selling bags of freshly picked peas – still in their pods – at a farmers market. I snapped a bag up instantly and sat their happily devouring the peas like sweeties. Gently popping open the pods and scooping up the delicate row of peas inside. So sweet and tender.

After munching all the peas I was left with quite a pile of empty pea pods. I hate throwing anything away and so tried eating one – not really a good idea – very tough and stringy and it didn’t beak down no matter how long I chewed. Despite its unappetising texture, it contained a wonderful pea flavour and so I decided to try and turn them into soup.

Lightly cooked with simply an onion, a potato and some pea loving mint my soupy broth mixture was ready in a matter of minutes. After blitzing I sieved the soup which removed all the tough fibres from the pea pods and resulted in a rich velvety soup with a thick creamy texture.

The taste was amazing. Pure essence of pea and so fresh and summery. The mint wasn’t overpowering and gave just a slight lingering aftertaste which complemented the pea. I loved its beautiful pea green colour and pure pea aroma.

Amazing to thick I got such a pea packed soup for practically nothing as the main ingredients are water and empty pods which I’d normally discard. So remember, after munching those fresh peas – don’t throw the pods away, make pea pod soup!

Pea Pod & Mint Soup
500g empty pea pods – eat the peas first!
1¾ pints hot water
1 large onion
1 large or 2 small potatoes
15 leaves of fresh mint
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Peel and roughly chop the onion. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, stir and then place the lid on to allow the onion to sweat and soften gently.
Meanwhile, dice the potato (no need to peel) and roughly chop the garlic.
Once the onion has started to soften, add the potato and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
Boil the kettle and measure out the water. Add the mint leaves and pea pods (no need to chop) to the pan and stir briefly.
Pour over the water, add some freshly ground salt and pepper and bring the mixture to the boil. Then reduce to a simmer, place the lid on with just a small gap to allow some steam to escape and allow to bubble for 15-20 minutes.
Check that the potatoes are cooked by sticking the tip of a sharp knife into them. If they are then remove the pan from the heat, if not then allow to cook for 3-4 minutes longer.
Once ready, blitz the soup in a liquidiser until restively smooth. Best to do this in batches. Strain the soup through a fine sieve into a large clean bowl or pan. Use the back of a spoon to help work the soup through the sieve, leaving behind all the stringy pith from the pea pods.
You should end up with a bright green and velvety smooth soup.
Taste and add more seasoning if required.
Serves 3-4

After leaving a comment on Cherrapeno’s blog stating my dream kitchen gadget (an automatic ice cream maker – the kind you don’t need to pre-freeze) I was lucky enough to be visited by the Fairy Hobmother, in the form of Ian from Appliances Online

Unfortunately he wasn’t able to give me the ice cream maker (unsurprisingly considering they cost £200+) but I was gifted a £25 Amazon gift card to put towards my ice cream fund – yay!

To be in with a chance of a visit from the Fairy Hobmother yourself, simply leave a comment on this post, stating your dream kitchen gadget, before June 5th and who knows he may be visiting you too!


verity said...

My dream gadget is a dishwasher so that I can bake and bake without having to clear up the mess

And I LOVE the idea of soup for practically nothing - looks so tasty!

Unknown said...

I love soup!

Baking Addict said...

That's a really good use of the pea pod. I would love to have more space in my kitchen to fit in more fancy baking tins which I probably don't need but would love - whoopie pie tins, donut pan, swiss roll tin, the list goes on and on :)

James Brewer said...

I love the sound of this, using up the pea pods that I usually through away. I bet it tasted beautifully like summer.

My dream gadget too is an ice cream maker! Making ice cream the old way of taking it in and out of the freezer takes for ages!

Rachel Hughes said...

That soup is a fantastic colour!

I would absolutely love a decent blender, or a hand blender. I'm moving soon to a kitchen without one, and will be sad to leave the one i've been using behind!

Emma said...

I usually just eat the whole thing, it's an acquired taste-but your soup looks amazing. my dream gadget is an ice cream maker-it doesn't matter what kind, it's just getting so hot!!

Rosita Vargas said...

que original y bella sopa aromática me encantó,es una delicia,cariños y abrazos.

Anita said...

I'm so glad I saw this. We are trying to grow peas right now and I would have never thought to use the pods for anything... if I get enough, I'll be sure to try this!

Made With Pink said...

That soup looks delicious! Strangely enough when I was little it was one of my favourites! I dont think most kids nowadays would even try it!

Lucky you to be visited by the Fairy Hobmother! Amazon gift cards are always a bonus! I'm with you on the ice cream maker. I've always wanted the one that attaches to my kitchenaid, but I've got no room in my freezer to chill it. Fir now I'm lusting after the new kitchenaid mixing bowl for my pink kitchenaid!

Anonymous said...

Hi my dream gadget would firstly be a dishwasher then maybe a really good juicer!!! Nikki

Chef in Training said...

YUM! This sounds great! I am so happy I stumbled across your blog! I would love it if you would come check out my blog and follow me too! I love finding new recipes! Thanks!