Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Green Pea Soup

This soup is so easy and simple, but it's also very delicious and refreshing.  I could almost see myself eating it cold (and I really am not into cold savory soups).  Ginger, lemon juice, and mint all "cool down" this ever-so-slightly-spicy soup.  If you wanted a more intense version, I think this soup would also be a great vehicle for harissa, in the style of that split pea harissa soup.

Green extravaganza!  Salad with avocado, pea soup with mint

Green Pea Soup Recipe
3 TB fresh ginger, well chopped
10 sm-med cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin, plus more to serve
3 TB veg oil
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
4 1/2 cups good-tasting vegetable stock or water
3 1/2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
8 fresh mint leaves
pan-fried paneed, queso fresco, or haloumi, cut into tiny cubes - optional
harissa (optional)

1. Use a food processor to puree the ginger, garlic, chiles, cumin and three tablespoons of water into a paste. You could also use a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
2. Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the oil. When hot, add the bay leaves and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the onion and cook for a few minutes, until it begins to take on a bit of color. At this point, stir in the garlic-ginger paste, and cook for another minute. Carefully add the stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Then add the peas. Simmer just until the peas are bright, and cooked through - just a couple minutes.
3. Remove from heat, fish out the bay leaves, add the salt, and puree well with a hand blender. Taste, and add more salt if needed. Also, if you need to thin out the soup at all, you can add more stock at this point. Serve hot (or chilled?) topped with a bit of lemon juice, a pinch of cumin, mint leaves, and perhaps harissa? pan-fried paneer or cheese.  Serves 4-6.

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