Thursday, July 13, 2006

one local summer, redux

Our second meal was heavenly-delish, but maybe a mite unbalanced. I was brought up with dinners that always included meat (or occasionally fish), potatoes (very rarely replaced by rice or dumplings), two vegetables, and salad. So sometimes when we make guacamole for dinner accompanied only by chips, or a solitary baked potato, I feel as if I ought to be explaining something to my mother.
The slightly unbablanced meal was fresh pea soup, and potatoes fried with onions and chives--my first time with this soup (although I've made split pea a number of times).
I couldn't find a recipe that I felt happy with (or that I had all the ingredients for), so I used one in Joy of Cooking and one in a Martha Stewart book as my foundation and took flight from there.
It came out wonderfully--a beautiful color of green, with a very fresh taste. The fried potatoes were basically just potatoes fried with onion and chives (and a little home-grown garlic)--no need for a recipe.

Fresh Pea Soup Garnished with Croutons and Mustard Flowers
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
2 cups shelled peas
a handful of beet (or other) greens, cut in thin strips
a handful of fresh mint leaves, ditto ***forgot this in 1st draft, sorry)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup yogurt
pinch of ginger
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
a few shakes of pepper
salt to taste
croutons and mustard flowers
(or other garnish)
I sauteed the onion and garlic in the olive oil. When they were softened I added the peas, beet greens, broth, and wine, and brought it to a simmer. I'm not sure exactly how long I let it go, because I kept taking one pea out to see if it was done; I'd guess about 4 minutes.
I added the seasonings and the cream and let it go a little longer, 2 more minutes about. (The spices gave just a hint of heat to the soup--but some might like it more purely pea in flavor--if so, I'd use only the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.)
I tried my immersion blender on this mixture, but it didn't work so well, so I put it in the regular blender and gave it a whiz. When it was smoothly and deliciously green, I added the yogurt, and then garnished our bowls with the flowers and croutons. This was meant to be a cold soup, but in fact, I ate it at room temperature (very good), and D ate it warmed up (because he can't see the point of cold soups) and had no complaints.

The mustard flowers are from my garden--I have mustard growing wild, which I more or less like, and I often eat the flowers raw when I'm out in the yard--they're very hot and sharp. They're not too noticeable when you put them in something, so they were just the tiniest piquant note in the soup, and also very pretty. The croutons were homemade: sourdough bread cut up and heated over a low flame in a cast iron pan to dry them out; then I added a little oil and tossed them around in the pan until they were coated and crispy.
My mother would have liked each element of this meal (although she would have perhaps questioned the mustard flowers), but she would probably have recommended that we add a nice sauteed chicken breast or a stuffed pork chop.


kitchen hand said...

Brilliant. I'm trying it soon.

holly_44109 said...

I do love pea soup - especially MY mom's! This sounds like a delicious recipe, maybe I will make it for her :) Thanks.

lucette said...

Oops--I forgot the mint. A handful of fresh mint leaves, cut in strips.

Liz said...

I love how the mustard flowers brighten the soup.

Stacie said...

Yummy! I found you on the One Local Summer site, and am a recent joiner, just surfing to see who else is obsessed with me!