This pea and mint soup is a true taste of spring, with its bright green color and light flavors. It's also incredibly quick and easy to make using fresh or frozen peas, and can be served both warm and chilled.
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As I was thinking about making French style peas recently, I realized I didn't have any pea recipes on the site yet. Well, technically there are some in the odd recipe like keema curry, and pea shoots make it into the odd thing like my asparagus salad, but that's about it.
It's not that I don't like them - I do - but admittedly we don't have them that often. And I think some of that is I just forget how to be a bit more creative with them.
This simple soup is maybe not one to put in the creative category, but it IS incredibly tasty and takes mere minutes to make. All you need is peas, stock, onion, butter and mint for this light and bright bowlful.
Cooking with peas
Peas are a wonderful ingredient, and a staple in the British kitchen as well as in other parts of Northern Europe in particular. They are tasty straight out of the pod, but also lovely as a simple side dish or added to salads.
Plus, they are one vegetable that is pretty close to fresh in quality from frozen as well, making them handy to keep on hand and use as much or as little as you need.
When you think of pea soup, however, you probably think of the old-fashioned pea and ham soup that's actually made from dried peas, typically split green peas. The main reason is no doubt necessity - fresh peas don't keep very well, and so drying them was much more practical.
While that soup is wonderfully comforting, fresh pea soup is also worth getting to know. Peas and mint are a wonderful pairing, and this soup lets both of those flavors come through. The flavors are delicate, but also fresh and spring-like.
I know the UK doesn't always have the best reputation food-wise, but I think some of that is maybe due to a period when there seemed to be less care taken in preparation and serving. Many traditional dishes are, in fact, relatively simple but have plenty of flavor when made correctly.
This soup is definitely a case in point. Cook it too long, and the peas will discolor. You could also easily over-season it and you lose the delicate pea flavor. But keep it simple and quick, and it's the perfect spring soup.
Fresh peas or frozen?
One of the nice things about this soup is that it works with both fresh and frozen peas. Fresh peas will just take slightly longer to cook. But don't worry, we're only talking the difference between about 2 minutes and 5-7 minutes.
With frozen, it's best to defrost them first so that they don't bring the temperature of the pan down too much (since you are using a lot). They don't take long to defrost - just place them in a colander or sieve and run under a cold tap. At first, they'll probably stick together in blocks of ice, but they'll break up easily and then be defrosted. You can also just leave them in a container in the fridge to defrost slowly, if you are planning ahead.
This pea and mint soup is so easy to make and the result is a deliciously tasty bowlful. Serve it warm to be gently comforting on a cooler day, or serve chilled to enjoy its freshness to the max when it's warmer. Either way, you'll be sure to enjoy the mellow and bright flavors (whatever the time of year).
Try these other tasty soups:
- Roasted apple and acorn squash soup
- Brussel sprout soup with bacon
- Irish fish chowder
- Wonton soup
- Plus get more spring recipes in the archives.
Pea and mint soup
- ½ onion small/medium
- 1 tablespoon butter 15g
- 2 ½ cups peas 350g (fresh or frozen, defrosted)
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock 360ml, or vegetable stock, for vegetarian version
- 2 tablespoon mint roughly chopped
- a little salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon creme fraiche approx, to serve
- Dice the onion. Warm a pot/pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for around 3-4 minutes until the onion is softened and translucent but not browning.
- Add the peas, stir to coat in the butter, then add the stock. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the mixture to a simmer. If using frozen peas, they will only need to cook around 2 minutes, if they are fresh it will be nearer 5-7 minutes. In both cases, the peas should stay bright green but be cooked.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the roughly chopped mint. Either use a stick/hand blender or transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste (I only needed around ⅛tsp of each).
- Serve either warm or allow to cool and chill to serve cold. In both cases, works well with a swirl of creme fraiche in the middle of the bowl.
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