Finally! After a winter that seemed like it would never let go, spring is in the air here in the Northeast. And what better way to celebrate its return than with the very vegetable symbol of the season: the spring pea. While the Soup Lady often relies on the hearty died split peas soup – heavy with dried thyme and flavored with bits of ham or bacon – to get through the winter months, the spring pea soup experience is something entirely different.
Use fresh peas for this recipe. Sit yourself down with a big bowlful of peapods and begin pea’n. Shelling peas is something that comes naturally to everyone; it is a soothing ritual that inspires daydreams and puts you in the right frame of mind so that all of the creative ideas percolating under the surface of your conciousness can emerge and seem really possible. Use any fresh herb yuo like, but I especially like the combination of marjoram and oregano in this. Chop the herbs at the last minute to get the full benefit of their frangrance and flavor. In a light soup like this, the herbs take center stage.
FRESH PEA SOUP
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 small clove garlic, chopped
2 T. butter
4 cups fresh peas, shelled
chicken stock or vegetable stock or water
1 tsp. of fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. of fresh marjoram, chopped
Saute the onion in butter in the bottom of a 5-quart soup pot. Add a bit of salt and cover the pot to ensure that the onions slowly become translucent and do not scorch. Add the chopped garlic and continue sauteing for an additional 3 minutes. Add the liquid and the peas. Stir in the chooped herbs with a little salt and cover. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer unitl the peas are tender.
Use a hand-held immersion blender to puree the soup into a smooth consistancy. ( If you preffer to use a blender, let the soup cool down and blend small batches – one cup at a time.) Stir in 1/2 cup of cream and serve.
Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of chopped herbs and some fresh whole peas that have been blanched in salted water.