Fresh Pea Soup
By Andrew Zimmern
This fresh pea soup is a celebration of spring in a bowl. You can use frozen peas if you must, but shelling your own peas is worth the extra step.
2 pounds shelled fresh peas or frozen peas
4 tablespoons butter
1 large chopped onion
1 medium sized leek, washed, rinsed and chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 thyme sprigs
6 cups rich chicken stock
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 thick slices of good crusty bread
Place half the butter in a large sauce pan (6 quart) and place on medium heat.
Add the onion, garlic, thyme and leek and sweat until golden. Add the stock, cover and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Strain, pressing down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
Blanch the fresh peas for 5 minutes in rapidly boiling salted water. Shock in ice water and strain. (If using frozen peas, rinse in cool water to defrost peas 100% and drain.)
Meanwhile, brown the bread slices in the olive oil over medium heat, sprinkling with kosher or sea salt as you go. When nice and golden on both sides, slice into large cubes or other attractive shapes.
Place 3/4 of the peas into a blender with the remaining butter, a large pinch of sea/kosher salt and 4 tablespoons of the hot stock mixture. Process adding more liquid if needed to puree fully.
Stir this pea mixture into the broth in 2 or 3 batches. Heat through, season and serve with the bread and reserved peas sprinkled on the soup.
Note: If you want a more refined product, strain the pea puree several times before mixing it into the stock.