The peas in our garden are a promise, but somewhere someone is picking them off the vine! The menu for an annual End-O-(Indoor) Season Tennis Lunch included this pretty soup. It’s “Three” Pea because one uses fresh (or frozen) whole peas, pureed peas, and a garnish of tender fresh pea shoots. I was so excited about topping it with our Mint Pesto, that I forgot the pea shoots, but the ladies enjoyed it nevertheless. If one were to whisk in a little heavy cream before reheating to serve, the contrast in color would be more striking, and the flavor a little rounder. I wanted to serve a purely vegetarian soup, so resisted, but you’ll see cream as an option below.
Three Pea Soup – Serves 8
2 medium white or yellow onions, peeled and chopped
1 large stalk of celery, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (freshly ground black is fine)
1 potato, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable broth
6 cups fresh green peas, shelled, or 2 pounds of frozen organic. (Frozen peas tend to have consistently brighter color, sweeter flavor, and to be more tender, but if you have a source for delicious, fresh off the vine peas and the time (or labor force) to shell them, go for fresh!)
Optional: 1 cup heavy cream
Fresh spring pea shoots, enough to garnish each bowl with 3-4 stems each.
1. Heat the olive oil in a large covered pot. Add the chopped onions, celery, and cook until the onions start to soften. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the onions are translucent.
2. Add the diced potato and 2 cups of vegetable broth. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
3. Add 4 cups of peas and 1-2 more cups of broth, cooking until the peas are tender. This will take 3-10 minutes depending on whether you’ve used fresh or frozen peas.
4. Cool the vegetables slightly, add another cup of broth and puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pot, add the remaining 1-2 cups of broth to reach the desired consistency. Cool and store in the refrigerator or leave on the stove until you’re close to serving.
5. Just before serving add the remaining 2 cups of peas. Heat and cook for 2-3 minutes until the peas are al dente. You want them to stay bright green, so don’t over cook. Add the heavy cream and heat until just before boiling.
6. Serve in preheated bowls, garnish with fresh pea shoots, and a drizzle of dark green olive oil. Scatter a few uncooked peas over the top if you like.
(And even better): garnish with shoots and a dollop of Mint Pesto.