What seems a lifetime ago, I tasted one of the most delicious pea soups ever-- and I have always wanted to recreate it. I did it! Unlike a Split Pea Soup, that is made with dried peas, this soup is made with fresh English Peas. A part of the soup is pureed, until thick, and a small amount of heavy cream gives this soup a silky flavor. A little Parmesan cheese, adds another layer of flavor. For added texture, whole peas are added and then a little bit of fresh lemon juice, rounds out the flavor of the soup with some spring brightness. NOTE: You can substitute fresh basil, or mint, if you prefer.
Adapted from foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.com
5 cups fresh English Peas, shelled*
1 large shallot, finely diced (about 3 Tablespoons)
Fresh Tarragon (about 1 Tablespoon), finely chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ tsp white pepper (black is okay)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice
OPTIONAL: Potato starch, to thicken the soup
Shell the peas (unless you can fine already shelled fresh peas, as I did at my local Costco). In a Dutch Oven, heat the olive oil and butter, until melted Add the shallots and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes. Season with white pepper. Add the tarragon (or choice of fresh herbs) Add 4 cups of the peas, reserving 1 cup. Add enough chicken (or vegetable) stock to cover the peas. Cover the pot, and cook for about 12 minutes, over medium heat. The peas should feel tender, but not mushy. If you have an immersion blender, puree the soup until you can't see any large chunks of peas. Otherwise, carefully puree in batches in a blender. Add the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice, and taste for seasonings, adding coarse salt as necessary. If the soup seems to thin, I like to use potato starch as a thickener (cornstarch can work, too). To about 2 Tablespoons of potato starch, add a ladle full of the soup and whisk together, removing the lumps. Slowly add the thickener back into the soup. The consistency of the soup should be creamy, not watery...but not really thick like baby food. Simply add more chicken/vegetable stock, if necessary. Add the reserved peas into the soup, cover and allow to cook for about 3 minutes. Serve with a lemon wedge, so that you can add more citrus flavor, if desired.