Minted sweet pea and spinach soup

The highlight of the dinner the other night was probably the soup. But what a challenge it was finding fresh mint in Wellington at this time of the year. Our highly productive (in summer) plant, dead above the ground. So was the mint in my parents’ garden, and the next-door neighbour’s, and a nearby friend’s. I ended up having to buy a plant at the supermarket … and I do think it’s absurd when one ends up purchasing common herbs like mint & chives & parsley from the supermarket. Okay, perhaps, if you’re an apartment dweller, but not when you have a garden. It seems like failure. But anyway, I did, and stripped all the leaves, and still didn’t have as much fresh mint as the recipe suggested. So, perhaps it should have had a mintier kick to it, but the soup was still delicious. It’s a Silver Palate recipe, which they very aptly describe as rich & elegant.

4 tbspns unsalted butter

2 cups finely chopped onion

Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Add onions, cover, & cook until tender & lightly coloured, about 25 minutes.

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted

3 cups chicken stock

10 oz frozen peas, defrosted

Drain the spinach & squeeze out excess liquid. Pour stock into saucepan, add peas & spinach. Bring to boil, reduce heat & simmer, partially covered, about 20 minutes.

2 loosely packed cups fresh  mint leaves

Add to the saucepan. Cover. Simmer. About 5 minutes. Pour soup though strainer, reserving the liquid. Put solids into food processor along with a cup of cooking stock. Process till smooth. Return pureed soup to the saucepan, add a cup of cream and the rest of the cooking stock (or as much as you want to get the consistency you want). Season with salt & pepper, reheat, and serve. Which I did with a dollop of whipped cream in the centre and chopped mint leaves for garnish.

Anyway, this was pretty easy, relatively inexpensive, and delicious. Definitely a keeper.

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