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Author Notes: I love soups and make one most weeks of the year. It's a great way to consume fruits and vegetables and I try hard not to use much if any cream or butter products. This is the latest rework of a romaine, pea and mint soup I've been working on for a few weeks now - I posted an earlier version last week. The pesto addition in this version adds both depth of flavor and texture to the soup that makes it soar. I made this one using herbs that suggest spring to me: mint and sorrel. But the pesto can change all through the year according to what's in season, just as you would change a salad for the seasons. Since I used worcestershire sauce as a final seasoning to the soup in this version, I use spiced pinenuts from antoniajames recipe for the pesto. If you try this soup, and I hope you do, I hope you love it as much as my family did. We had it warm, since it was a little chilly still here yesterday, but on a hot summer day, I would serve it slightly chilled. —TheWimpyVegetarian
Serves 4-6 (depending on the size of the bowl)
Romaine, Pea and Mint Soup
- 2 pounds romaine lettuce (or mix of spring lettuces)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup spring onions, white and green parts (green onions can be substituted here)
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 quart chicken stock, water or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons creme fraiche or greek yogurt
- 2 splashes of Worcestershire sauce
- Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Wash the lettuces and slice into 2” pieces. Blanch the lettuce in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook another 5 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. (Note: if working with tender young spring lettuces, blanch only for 2-3 minutes before adding the peas.)
- In a large pot, melt the butter and oil together over medium heat. Saute the onions, mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper until the onions are very soft.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onion - mint mixture and whisk to mix the flour in. Cook for 3-4 minutes to toast the flour. Gradually whisk in 1/4 of the broth until smoooth and starts to thicken into a paste; then add the rest while whisking over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until smooth.
- Chop the blanched lettuce - pea mixture and add to the soup base. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to mingle flavors.
- Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Reheat, add the creme fraiche (or yogurt, if you're using that instead) and adjust for seasoning. At the end add a couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce to round out the flavors.
- Serve with the pesto - the recipe follows below.
Sorrel - Mint Pesto
- 1 bunch of sorrel leaves, stems removed (about 15 leaves)
- 10-15 mint leaves, stems removed
- 3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts tossed in olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and toasted in a dry pan over medium heat
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil, or enough to make it slightly liquid
- Put all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor or blender and pulse 10-12 times. Then process fine while slowly pouring in the olive oil.
- Serve with a dollop in the soup.