In this recipe, frozen fresh peas are used. After simmering them in chicken broth, the peas are pureed with an immersion blender. No cream is added.
Fresh peas are available fresh as in fresh, or fresh frozen. If you buy your peas unfrozen, use them as soon as possible because they will spoil fast. A day in the fridge, in a container where they can breathe, won’t damage them but longer than that and they will taste and smell different. They will also likely absorb the aroma of other food in the fridge.
Does this fresh pea soup rely mainly on the chicken broth for flavor? No, the flavor base is onion and garlic browned slowly in butter.
Because garlic browns faster than onion, I allow the onion to brown lightly in butter before adding the garlic. I don’t even bother chopping the garlic because they will get pureed anyway. The important thing is get them to brown too before proceeding to the next step.
The peas which I don’t bother thawing go into the pot after the onion and garlic have sufficiently browned. Note that there is a thin line between deeply browned and burnt, so, watch the onion and garlic carefully. You want them to get as brown as possible without burning them. Once they reach that stage, dump in the peas. The temperature will drop immediately to prevent the onion and garlic from burning.
Once the peas are heated through, pour in chicken broth. Yes, chicken broth. Not water. Well, unless you’re aiming for a vegan dish. Vegetable stock is good too but to make the soup vegan, that means you will have to ditch the butter too. And you will lose so much flavor if you do that. Your choice though.
The peas, browned onion and garlic are left to simmer in the broth to bring the flavors together. Then, the pot is taken off the heat and an immersion blender is plunged in to puree the vegetables. The pot goes back on the stove, more broth is added until the soup acquires a good consistency, and flavors are adjusted.
Sweet peas soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion - peeled and roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - peeled and lightly pounded
- 2 cups sweet peas - if frozen, no need to thaw
- 2 to 4 cups chicken bone broth
- salt - to taste
- pepper - to taste
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes - plus more to garnish
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
- fried shallots - to garnish (optional)
- 4 egg yolks - to garnish (optional)
- Melt the butter in a pot.
- Saute the chopped onion just until starting to brown.
- Add the garlic cloves and continue sauteeing until the onion pieces are well browned.
- Add the peas and cook, stirring, until heated through.
- Pour in three cups of chicken bone broth.
- Sprinkle in half a teaspoon of salt, a quarter teaspoon of pepper and the chili flakes.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for ten minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat, plunge in an immersion blender and process the peas until smooth (don't worry if the mixture appears too thick at this point).
- Return the to the stove and, with the heat set to low, pour in more bone broth until you get the consistency of a thick but still pourable soup.
- Taste, add more salt and pepper, if needed, then stir in a tablespoon of lime or lemon juice.
- Taste again and, if the soup is still too sweet, stir in the rest of the lime or lemon juice.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish, if you like, and serve.