Finally, real summer time weather! More and more crops are being harvested now, including blueberries, summer squash, cucumbers, and peas! Sugar snap peas are the most popular pea by far, but I really like fresh shelling peas.
Earlier this summer, we went on a short trip to Chicago. One evening, I had the delight of eating a pea soup at Hot Chocolate. I was determined to recreate this soup when we were ready to harvest our shelling peas.
The most important thing about this soup is that you need to buy fresh shelling peas! Make sure that they are freshly picked to insure the highest sugar level. After you pick peas, the sugars gradually start to turn into starch. This summertime soup is sort of like “nose-to-tail” cookery for vegetables. After you shell the peas, reserve the pods to make a light green broth and then you cook the peas in their own broth! Simple, fast, and very tasty.
2 tbsp butter
2 garlic scapes, optional, or 1 small garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp flour
salt, to taste
Place the pea pods in a large saucepan. Cover the pods with water and add the bay leaf and a large pinch of salt. Bring this up to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Simmer the broth until the pea pods are soft, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Strain and transfer the broth to a bowl or another pot.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan and gentle saute the two garlic scapes or garlic clove. Add the peas and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Cover the peas with some of the pea broth. You will most likely not need all of the broth. Simmer the peas for about 5-8 minutes and remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. The soup should be quite thin.
In a small bowl, mash together 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Bring the soup back up to a high simmer and whisk in the butter/flour mixture. Continue to cook until the soup thickens. Taste and season. Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of cream, yogurt, or formage blanc. Enjoy!