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Author Notes: Pea soup has long been my go-to for a quick and filling meal. One day, when making Christine Gallary's Green Pea Soup, I realized I was out of both vegetable stock and leeks. Not wanting to go out, I turned to my garden for inspiration, with (so my family and friends claim) spectacular results. This recipe begins with making a stock almost entirely from fresh garden herbs, imparting a flavor that neither vegetables nor dried herbs can match, then finishes with a fresh summer twist that makes fresh summer dish of usually-wintery pea soup. While good fresh, its best prepared one day ahead and reheated on the stovetop on low. May also be served cold. See the notes at the end regarding substitutions if you don't have coriander root available. Good eating! —tlynnec
Fresh Herb Stock
bunches Fresh Rosemary - about 1/2 cup de-stemmed
bunches Fresh Sage - about 3/4 cup de-stemmed and roughly chopped/bruised
sprigs Fresh "Hot & Spicy" Oregano - about 1 TBS de-stemmed, bruised
Fresh Garlic Chives - about 1/4 cup roughly chopped
cup (aprox chopped measurement) - 1 large leek OR 2 large shallots OR 2 medium green onions (or any combination thereof)
From the bottom of 2 cilantro/coriander plants that have gone to seed - all roots plus 2" of stems attached to roots, well cleaned and left whole, then bruised by sandwiching between parchment paper and hitting with a mallet
tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil
teaspoon Salt - Pink or Sea
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over med-high heat until it just begins to shimmer. Add the rosemary & sage and, stirring continuously, reduce heat to medium low. The herbs will suck up most of the oil immediately & that is OK - do not add any extra oil.
- Add the oregano, chives, and onions/shallots/leeks and stir gently until onions just begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Clear a space in the center, then place the whole cilantro/coriander roots in the pan. Turn heat up to medium high for 1 full minute, then add the water and salt. Stir well.
- Bring mixture to a low simmer, then cover and drop heat to medium low. Low simmer should remain barely audible with the lid on. Allow to simmer for a) at least 2 hours if you prefer a heartier pea soup (herbs will not be strained out - my preferred method), OR b) at least 3 hours if you prefer a perfectly smooth pea soup (herbs will be strained out)
- When the stock is past its minimum time, gather:
Making the Soup
teaspoon freshly Ground Black Pepper (plus more to taste)
cups Shelled Fresh Peas (from about 2 1/2 lbs in pods) OR 1 16-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
cup loosely packed Fresh Mint Leaves, bruised
teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice (plus more to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Fresh Cucumber, diced (optional)
sprigs Fresh Mint (as garnish)
- Remove the cilantro/coriander root from the herb stock and discard. a) Strain stock, if desired. Measure and add water until you have a minimum of 2 1/4 cup liquid. Return to pan.
- Add the pepper and peas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until peas are tender, about 5 minutes
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mint leaves and stir to combine. Let sit uncovered about 10 minutes for flavors to meld.
- Transfer to a blender or large food processor and blend until smooth, working in batches and keeping a vent open but covered with a paper towel so steam can escape without splashing you.
- Return to a clean saucepan and stir in lemon juice. Reheat to serving temperature over low heat. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, and lemon as needed.
- Serve with an optional sprinkling of diced fresh cucumber and garnish with a sprig of mint
- ----NOTES---- *Since the mint is not used until the end, it is ideal not to pick it until just before you're ready to use.
- ----NOTES---- *Leeks, shallots, or onions is a matter of preference. I prefer a mixture of 1/2 leek tops (which usually have leftover after using the rest in another recipe) and 1/2 green onion (about 1 entire medium green onion).
- ----NOTES: Substituting the Cilantro Coriander Root---- *The stem and roots of Coriander/Cilantro that have gone to seed are somewhat milder than when it is in its prime. This recipe takes advantage of the milder flavor and makes use of a product that is usually thrown out after the coriander seed has been harvested. If you only have cilantro in its prime, use about half as much fresh stem (with leaves is ok), cut into 2 inch pieces and bruised.
- ----NOTES---- *Quick garlic-infused oil = 2 TBS olive oil + 1/2 tsp minced garlic "juice". Heat on low and allow flavors to meld for 2 minutes prior to beginning recipe.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Mint