I know that calling this minted pea soup recipe ‘spring’ pea soup is optimistic – what with at least another six weeks of bitter cold weather waiting for us before spring is ‘officially’ here. But all around me I am starting to see signs that winter is on its way out. Jasmin shrubs spilling over fences in my neighbourhood are fat with buds, I’ve planted my summer bulbs, and there is a misguided iris in my garden that’s about to pop out its showy, OTT pretty, lavender-purple face. Giddy with anticipation, I decide to cook something that positively shouts spring.
When I think spring, I think herbs, gentle flavours and girlie-pretty plates of food because for me spring is the ultimate feminine season. The flavours of this pea soup are subtle and fresh with a vibrant burst thanks to mint, peppery watercress, parsley and lemon. As recipes go, it’s the culinary opposite of my split pea and ham hock soup. That’s dude food deluxe.
Serve this, much more feminine offering, garnished with flowers in pretty China cups to all your book club lady friends.
All you need is…
5 spring onions, including the green stalks, chopped
1 tbs butter
¼ tsp crushed garlic
4 cups frozen peas (or fresh)
1 sachet quality liquid chicken stock concentrate (Ina Paarman’s, the one from Woolies or Nomu Chicken Fond)
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water
2 heaped tbs chopped fresh mint
2 heaped tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 heaped tbs chopped fresh watercress
2 tbs Bulgarian or Greek double-cream plain yoghurt
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
sea salt (I use Maldon, it’s just wonderful)
Gently fry the spring onions and garlic in the butter over low heat for three minutes. Now add the peas, water, stock and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the herbs. Blitz in your food processor or with a stick blender until smooth.
Put back on the stove just to heat through again. Just before serving, stir in the yoghurt, add the lemon and a pinch of salt. The stock is salty, so first taste and then add, but you WILL need an extra touch of salt (remember, it enhances flavour!).
Serve scattered with a few mint, watercress and parsley leaves for an extra burst of herby flavour. For an over the top girlie-pretty presentation, you can also add some snow peas, feathery sprouts and some edible flowers like pansies. This will serve two people as a main or four as a starter.