Saturday, January 31, 2009

Creamy Sweet Pea Soup

Well hello there all you blog readers (or just the close relatives that we guilted into reading our blog). So, this is Ian's and my very first post ever, and just to set the tone, we are hoping to make this a food blog about our culinary adventures in Montreal. Now Ian is an amazing photographer, but of course for this very first set of pictures he forgot his camera so we will all have to suffice with my eight year old, five pound, 1 mega pixel camera that takes a memory card almost as big as a floppy disk, to shoot this great soup.

Why soup for the first blog post ever you ask? Well I'll tell you. I ate too much cheese, steak, lemon pie, and creme brulee yesterday night, therefore the scale is not agreeing with me. Today I bought the Cook's Illustrated Soup & Stew magazine and the Sweet Pea Soup just screamed "eat me" and so, I did. And it was oohhh so good. This one was a really easy recipe using frozen peas and some Boston lettuce to boost the colour, flavour and texture.

Cook's Illustrated says to get the freshest tasting soup one should use a food processor to coarsely chop the peas so that their delicious starchy centres release their flavours as fast as possible. Considering that these peas take only a couple of minutes in the simmering broth before they are done, and well, the burst of freshness each spoonful brings, I am going to have to go ahead and agree with them.

We also just went down the street and picked up a loaf of olive bread from Premiere Moisson. A good call, because now I am stuffed full of warm soup and delicious bread on this -17 degree night. Enjoy!

Creamy Split Pea Soup
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Makes about 6 1/2 cups, serving 4-6
(I have added small alterations that cut down fat and add flavour, not that it was lacking any.)

2tbs unsalted butter
1 cup of shallots or one leek, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2tbs corn starch or flour
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed at room temp. for 10 min.
12 Boston lettuce leaves
1/2 cup of 10% cream
Salt and pepper for seasoning, to taste.

-Heat butter in soup pot over low heat and add shallots and garlic, cook until softened, 8-10 min.
-Add corn starch and stir constantly, till combined
-Keep stirring constantly and gradually add the chicken stock.
-Increase heat and bring to a boil, then simmer 3-5 min.
-In food processor process partially thawed peas until coarsely chopped, about 20 sec.
-Add chopped peas and lettuce to simmering broth, increase heat to boiling point, then continue to simmer for 2 minutes longer.
-Puree the soup in a blender until smooth; strain back into the cleaned soup pot.
-Add cream and heat on low for 3 min. until hot.
-Season with salt and pepper to taste.
-Serve immediately, and don't forget the crusty bread!