Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pea Soup

I’m way into summer soup. In fact, I may be more into soup as a summer thing—to be served cold and clean on a warm June evening—than as a winter comfort food. That I eat soup in the summer as opposed to the winter, when I tend to lean toward casseroles and cornbread, probably goes a long way toward explaining the bi-annual fluctuations of my pant-size. Maybe. If you don’t tend to think of soup as a warm weather food, let me persuade you of your folly. This is particularly the case since warm weather comes bearing with it bushels of fresh herbs. While I’m not usually a cheerleader for fresh herbs, finding them a bit chichi and labor intensive (especially since the implicit injunction in the foodiverse is obviously to grow your own in your dedicated mini-indoor hydroponic garden, who the hell has a yard anyway?), I’m not averse to snagging a bunch of fresh mint or thai basil at the local farmer’s market on a sunny summer morning.

With all this talk about fresh herbs, you are no doubt already peering down your nose at the recipe below, which calls not for fresh peas, washed and de-podded laboriously while listening to the Decembrists and sipping PBR, but frozen. While I am sympathetic to the romance of fresh peas, the sad fact is that life is short and the work week long. Frozen peas it is. When you throw everything together with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a handful of fresh mint, you will forget all about the lack of freshness in your peas.

Summer Pea Soup

2 bags frozen peas—20oz total
6 c veggie broth—c’mon intrepid cook, make your own compost broth. You have all the time in the world.
Handful fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, juiced
1 medium onion—diced, not finely—no need to knock yourself out over something you’re just going to blend up anyway
a few T olive oil

garnishes, optional: a few mint leaves and a dollop of plain non-dairy yogurt or sour cream

In a medium-large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Saute just until translucent, then add peas and mint. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes, then add broth. Bring to a light simmer and let it coast for 10-15 minutes. If you are lucky enough to have an immersion blender, break that bad boy out and blend the soup in the pot to the desired consistency. Some people prefer a smooth blended soup. Personally, I like mine a little on the chunky side. Texture is a highly personal thing. If you are not so lucky, blend the soup in batches. Good luck with those logistics.