Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mindy Heiferling’s Spring Pea Soup

The flavor of this chilled soup is exceptionally good. The recipe originates with New York City-based chef and food writer Mindy Heiferling; I’ve modified it from the original with my own comments and suggestions. When I served it to dinner guests one hot evening this week, it was an instant hit. I recommend you make the stock the night before, preparing the soup early on the day you plan to serve it, so it will be ice cold. 
Mindy Heiferlings Spring Pea Soup: 
To Make the Pea Stock:
3 lb. fresh peas, to yield 3 c. shelled peas (see Note)
8 butter lettuce leaves (also called “Boston” lettuce)
1 c. watercress leaves and stems
¾ c. coarsely chopped green onions including tops (also called “spring onions”)
1 c. coarsely chopped celery and leaves
6 sprigs fresh chervil (if you can’t find chervil, substitute sprigs of fresh parsley or tarragon)
Water, to cover (if I have it, I prefer to cover the vegetables with about 5 c. of chicken or vegetable stock)
Salt, to taste
Teaspoon of sugar, depending on sweetness of peas
Shell peas and set aside. Combine the empty pea pods with the remaining stock ingredients in a large pot; cover with water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer 30 min., stirring occasionally. Strain through a colander, pressing hard with the back of a spoon to strain the solids. This yields approximately 5 c. of stock.
Note: If fresh peas aren’t available, use 3 c. of shelled, frozen peas to make the stock. The way I (Nicole) make this soup, youll require 3 c. peas for the stock, and 3 c. peas for the soup. This produces a sweet, refreshing flavor!
To Make the Soup:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter (also known as “sweet” butter)
2 c. chopped, well cleaned leeks (about 8 small; white part, only)
Dash of salt 
3 c. frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 c. buttermilk 
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh chervil or parsley 
In a clean pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat, stirring in the leeks and a dash of salt. Turn heat to low. Cover and “sweat” the leeks 10 min., until softened. Uncover and cook 15 min. more, until fully soft and tender. Add the strained stock and bring to a boil. Add peas with salt and pepper, to taste, simmering 5-to-10 min. until the peas are tender. Cool slightly. Purée in small batches at least 1 min. per batch in blender, to ensure pea skins are well puréed. Chill well before stirring in buttermilk and finely chopped chervil or parsley. Cover and refrigerate until icy cold. Makes 6-to-8 servings.

To make stock: Check out these fresh ingredients! 

Watercress (as just cut, previous picture)!

Butter lettuce!

Green onion!

Celery, Dollinks!

Frozen peas! (B-r-r-r-r-r!)


Cover with water or previously made (or purchased) stock 
Place colander inside a large bowl

Strain stock, separating liquid from solids

Press solids against colander wall to extract every bit of
precious stock. This especially applies if you use fresh pea pods

To make soup: "Sweat" leeks in butter, over low heat

Add the strained stock, more peas, and seasoning

Purée in very small batches to ensure smoothness

Stir in buttermilk, topping with fresh chervil or parsley

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