Herbed Minty Pea Soup with Smoked Bacon

I only make fresh pea soup when the peas are available already shelled in the springtime. I just find it too much work to go through the hassle of digging through so many pea-pods, but if you have the time, go for it. For this recipe you’ll need four cups of fresh peas, or you will need to get your hands on six pounds of pods to shell. In a pinch (or off season) you could also use thawed frozen peas.

This is a delicious soup, hot or cold, and can be a stand-alone lunch with a salad. It’s also a springtime staple at the house, as it was growing up (where the kids had to shell the peas, hence my aversion to it now).

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of extra version olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shallots, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups of homemade chicken stock
  • 6 cups of shelled fresh peas, you would need about 6 pounds of pods if you cannot find them already shelled, and if it’s winter, then go with thawed frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped and more to garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 7 ounces or 1/2 cup sour cream or the preferred creme fraiche
  • 1/4 pound of good feta cheese in brine, drained
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Chopped chives or scallions for garnish
  • Chopped tarragon for garnish
  • 8 strips of thickly sliced roasted bacon, rough chopped for garnish

Making It

  • Heat your oven to 400 degrees, then lay out the bacon on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil and roast for 15-20 minutes until crisp. Remove, drain the bacon on paper towels and rough chop for serving.
  • Add the butter and olive oil to a large heavy pot over medium heat until it bubbles, then add the onion, shallot and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the onion is translucent but not browned at all – this should take about 7 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the peas, and when boiling again, lower to a gentle simmer, then cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Add the basil and mint, and simmer for another 2 1/5 minutes or until the peas are tender…if you are using frozen peas then each step should take about a minute.
  • Take the pot off the heat and whisk in the creme fraiche or sour cream and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and put in an immersion blender. Serve in a bowl with two ladles each topped with the chives, chives/scallions and bacon.

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