I wish I had a story for this one. But there’s nothing to be nostalgic about here, because this dish is new to my kitchen. Following the excesses of Christmas past, my wife mentioned a recipe for a green pea soup. I must be honest by telling you that I have never had pea soup. And also, that in the past, the mere mention of it got me thinking about the Exorcist, where pea soup was used as a stand-in for, well, you know (and if you don’t know, good for you!). I don’t imagine this is making you hungry–which is sort of my job, I guess. My hope, though, is that this post can change any ill will you have toward green pea soup. So here goes:
This soup is all about freshness. The peas are blended once they turn bright green. Fresh mint and tart lemon add lightness, while smoky bacon and chopped leeks give the soup an incredible savor. The soup is finished with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, which adds richness and contrast to the verdant pea and mint. And even better, unlike other soups which benefit from hours and hours on the stove, this soup is ready once the leeks are cooked and the peas have warmed. This would also be the perfect thing to serve alongside roasted pork chops or a slab of pork belly.
Green Pea-Leek Soup with Mint (serves 4)
1/4 lb smoky bacon, chopped fine
2 leeks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsps fresh mint, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups good chicken stock
1 bag frozen peas
In a large pot on medium heat, add the chopped bacon and let the fat render out. Once rendered, remove the pieces of bacon. Add the leeks and garlic to the pot and let them cook until they have softened. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the peas, mint, and lemon. When the peas have warmed, use an immersion blender to bring the mixture to a smooth consistency. Add a generous amount of black pepper and season with salt to taste. Serve the soup with a dollop of mascarpone cheese and a sprig of mint. You could also top the soup with homemade bread crumbs of buttery croutons and serve it with a couple strips of thick-cut bacon.