There’s nothing like the flavor of minty pea soup made with shelled or frozen peas and freshly picked mint. The addition of cream adds a delightful richness. Pair the soup with sesame parmesan crisps for a meal that looks and feels oh-so-fancy.
Rick and I have enjoyed many “cremas” or “cream of” soups. They’re often part of the daily menu in Spanish homes where a main meal typically has three courses. The soups are filled with good for you ingredients like leeks, carrots, potatoes and the main vegetable– usually a starchy one like squash or in our case, peas. In the old days the soups would have been passed through a strainer to smooth them out. Immersion blenders have all but eliminated that step. (Unless you have one lacking in horsepower like ours…it’s just a matter of time until we upgrade).
Mint works so well in savory recipes and pairing with peas is a classic combination. The amount of mint used is up to you. I love (L♥VE!) the flavor of fresh peas so I add just enough mint to get a hint of flavor. You’ll need about a pound of peas. They can be frozen or about 2 cups fresh, shelled peas. You can use canned peas as well, if there’s a brand you particularly like.
The sesame parmesan crisps are probably familiar to anyone who’s eaten low carb. It’s a simple matter of mixing good quality grated cheese with sesame seeds, then baking the portions for a few minutes. I know people who make batches of these ahead of time, but I really don’t care for them the next day. It’s also possible to make them in the microwave but I haven’t tried it. Whatever works for you.
- 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 lb peas (about 2 cups frozen or canned)
- 1 cup mirepoix (1/2 cup chopped onion, ¼ cup chopped carrot, ¼ cup chopped celery and 1 clove garlic, minced)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil as needed
- ½ cup cream, more or less (try plain yogurt, too)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves (use less if dried)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (any hard cheese can be used)
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- The cooking time will vary depending on whether the veggies are fresh, canned or frozen.
- Using a large saucepan, saute the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a small amount of olive oil until softened.
- Add the broth and the peas and continue to cook at a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
- If using fresh peas, you may see some scum forming. Spoon that off.
- When the vegetables are all cooked through, stir in the chopped mint.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Stir in the cream and serve with a garnish of mint leaves.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicone sheet to make removing the crisps easier.
- Mix the cheese and sesame seeds together, then measure about a tablespoon per crisp onto the baking sheet. Leave some space between each one. I ended up with 8 crisps.
- Bake for 6 - 8 minutes, taking care not to let them burn.
You’ll save some effort by using frozen mirepoix and peas, but I think you’ll find it worthwhile to try freshly shelled peas. To make a vegan soup, use vegetable broth and add a diced potato to the soup to replace the cream. A splash of good quality olive oil or walnut oil will add the richness that cream ordinarily supplies.