A soup with ancient origins, this simple pea soup made from fresh or frozen green peas is quick, easy, sweet and pleasing as part of a full, heavier meal.
Most of the Western nations have their own version of pea soup, which dates as far back as Aristophanes. The “fresh” modifier is included only to distinguish this version from the common split pea soup, often a heartier dish made with dried peas and salted pork additions. This smooth, creamy soup is closer to the more refined European version elevated from peasant fare and known as Potage Saint-Germain once served in the court of Louis XIV of France.
Fresh or frozen green peas work equally well in this preparation, as modern produce is often packaged soon after harvest; peas thrive in colder weather and suffer very little from freezing. Green peas break down very easily when cooked and processed, so this version yields a soup with a velvety mouthfeel without the need for cream. A final strain before serving can smooth the consistency even further but should not be necessary.
The soup thus produced should feature the natural vegetable sweetness of the fresh green pea in a satisfying purée that works as a soup course or accompaniment to a larger meal. It can also be further customized in many different ways by including leeks, carrots, cream, pieces of bacon or chunks of ham, but all of these take it closer to a different recipe altogether.
Serve this soup with toasted herbed croutons, or with a small crumble of crispy bacon. It pairs best with steak or thick-cut pork chops, and can also be served as a warm (or chilled) shooter.
Fresh Pea Soup
4 c green peas (frozen)
1 clove of garlic
4 c chicken stock
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 Chop the shallot and garlic and briefly sauté in oil until soft, about 5 min.
2 Add the peas and warm until just no longer frozen. Do not brown.
3 Add the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 min.
4 Shred the cheese into the soup, and purée in batches until very smooth. Season to taste.