Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Pea and Mint Soup with Pancetta Crisps

The sun has been shining and the days are getting longer. People are wearing sunglasses and the other day I went to the shops in a t-shirt! I tell you my days are WILD.

All in all, it feels like the winter is lifting in London and spring is well and truly on its way.

So it's time for a few lighter things to munch on and this soup is just the ticket. It is still a nice warming bowl to ward off the last of those winter chills, yet it's nice, light and full of summery smells. 

Now, a warning, this is quite a thin soup, its not a big gutsy one, so if you are of that type this may not be the soup for you. I have a couple of pea and mint soup recipes, some have potatoes in them which does thicken it but this is the purest form of the soup. 

For the discerning hostesses among you, I'll let you into a little secret. This works very well as a canapĂ© as its easy to drink due to its thinness, serve it in shot glasses. It can also be served cold with is super refreshing on a warm day. Doesn't that just instantly have you planning summer garden parties? 

As well as all the above benefits it is so simple to make, cheap too as there are minimal ingredients. You could swap the pancetta for something else if you wanted or leave it out all together to be vegetarian.

So pop on the radio, throw open the kitchen window to let some fresh spring air in and lets get down to business shall we?

You will need:
500g frozen peas 
1 Bunch of spring onions 
1 Large bunch of mint 
100ml of double cream 
2pints of chicken stock 
1 pack of pancetta
1 generous knob of butter 

Start buy chopping up your spring onions. I haven't gone all the way to the top of my onions as the dark green part can be quite bitter. So stick to the 'oniony' bit.

Pop these in a pan and start to pick your mint. Usually you can get away with the stalks of herbs in things but mint has got a bit of a tough stalk, so best the get all the leaves off. Be generous with the mint, it is after all a pea and mint soup!

Pop these into the pan with the onions and your generous knob of butter and pop it on the heat.

Gently cook these down for a few minutes until soft and allow the mint leave to release all their flavour. 

Now pour in your stock. I have used stock cubes but if you have your own stock your soup will be 100 times better. 

Sadly I don't have a big enough pot to make my own stock which is frustrating as I have cooked a hell of a lot of chickens recently! Try not to waste your carcasses. (Ill do a post on stock when I can to show you how simple it is)

Pour in the peas and whack up the heat so this gets a good boil on.

Whilst you are waiting for that to boil get your pancetta shards on. Pancetta is great because it is so thin it really hold its shape after its cooked so you can have little crisps.

Keep the pan on a low heat so you don't incinerate them. They are quite delicate and cook super fast!

Now you're pan should have come up to the boil. Turn the heat right down to a simmer and add in the cream.

Keep this simmering for 15 mins.

Let me introduce you to my new toy. The Magimix 5200 XL Professional. Isn't she a beaut? 

She is my belated christmas from the Rents and my goodness, there is nothing she can't do. Next to her is only a small sample of the gadgets she came with. The rest are away in their own cupboard. Yes I need a whole cupboard for all of the attachments.

So now your soup is ready to be blended. Be gone mere hand blender. You are needed no more. (You can use one if thats all you have) In go all the contents to the Queen of Kitchen Gadgets and with one press of a button.....

Yeah you guessed it, I totally over-filled it and subsequently got sprayed by boiling liquid. Not feeling so clever any more I poured half the contents back into the pan and started again.  

Whilst it blended I cleaned up my own mess and literally licked my wounds. Yummy.

Once you feel it is suitably blended grab a large container like one such below (don't worry we don't have 5 litres of ice cream at once in this house, I got this from work to take some goodies home with me)

Pour your blended soup into the sieve. Now I thought that life was just too short to sieve soup but you do need to with pea soup as the husks of the peas are just not so nice to chew on. So go on, just pop it through. 

See? This is all you are left with. Nobody needs that in their life. 

Thats it. Soup done! So simple, tasty and fresh. 

Knock up a little salad as an accompany and voila! A perfect light healthy supper. 

Of course I washed mine down with a couple of gins but one can't be saintly all the time. 

Mmmmmm delish. 

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