|summery pea and ham soup|
I recently served this at a drinks party, at room temperature, in shot glasses. It was perfect nibble for a summer party. Later on I discovered one of the guests wielding a ladle in the kitchen and helping himself to more. "I've never had anything like this, Rache. I just can't help myself . . ." I was delighted, although I am convinced it was less to do with my cooking and more to do with using home-made chicken stock!
Serves 4 - 6
Skill level: Easy
600g fresh or frozen peas, or a mixture of both
1 x small English onion, finely chopped
1-2 x garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 litre good quality chicken or vegetable stock
10 mint leaves, shredded plus more to garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of sugar (optional)
- Gently fry the onion until softened but not browned (about 5 minutes).
- Add the garlic, stir, cover and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the peas and stock. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Take off the heat and check the seasoning, which will be dependent on how salty and peppery your stock is.
- Add a pinch of sugar and stir. This helps to bring out the natural sweetness of the peas, although you may not need it.
- Stir in the shredded mint leaves.
- Set aside to cool slightly.
- Purée in a food processor or using a blender. (You can also sieve it at this stag for extra smoothness).
- Serve either hot or cold, with a small sprig of mint.
- Before serving, stir in a swirl of double cream or crème fraiche.
- Add a splash of white wine or sherry when you add the stock.
- Top with strips of crisp pancetta, prosciutto o]r serrano ham.
- Use coriander rather than mint, together with 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped. (Fry the chilli off with the onion and garlic).
- Garnish with snipped chives.