There is nothing more classic in English cuisine than pea and mint soup. In Spring when the peas are in full bloom, this soup pops up on tables all over the country. Here is a classic version that will satisfy your cravings for this soup.
This soup, like most soups, depends on the delicious stock that is made ahead. The soup is simple, so making the stock is essential. The soup is light and delicate. The taste of peas is strong and the large amounts of mint add a punch to the flavour. This is a soup that is perfect chilled for those hot, summer days, but can also be had hot on cold wintery nights.
The garden at the Great Dixter House has carved a name for itself for decades. This cookbook comes from the notes and recipes from the well-renowned Christopher Lloyd, including old classics like this dish, but also newer recipes. The book is all about the beautiful and well-tended kitchen garden, the fabulous produce and fresh and healthy recipes. Penned by Great Dixter’s vegetable gardener and cook, Aaron Bertelsen, The Great Dixter Cookbook continues to nurture Lloyd’s inspiring philosophy (‘garden and kitchen, gardener and cook’) through a collection of scrumptious recipes
For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.
For the vegetable stock:
2 stems celery with leaves, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2-3 dried mushrooms
1 small potato, chopped
10-15 spinach leaves
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 onion, chopped
10-12 black peppercorns
2-3 stems of fresh thyme or a pinch-dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
10 cups water
For the soup:
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, finely diced
4-5 cups vegetable stock
1 lb peas, fresh or frozen
4-5 tablespoons parsley
4-5 tablespoons mint leaves
4-5 tablespoons cream
Parsley, minced, to garnish
Mint, minced, to garnish
Start by making vegetable stock. Add all the ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and keep the liquids. The stock can be stored in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for a few months.
To a stockpot add the butter and sautè the onions on low heat till they are soft and translucent about 5 minutes. Add half the stock and bring to a simmer.
If using frozen peas, bring them to room temperature. Add the peas and bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes for frozen peas and 3 minutes for fresh peas. Remove from the heat and add the parsley, mint and remaining stock to cool the liquids down.
Cool and purèe the soup with a hand blender or in a blender till very smooth. Pass the soup through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any small bits. working the solids that remain through the mesh so as not to waste any soup.
You can serve the soup hot or chilled with a drizzle of fresh cream and herb garnish.