When I was a kid, I hated peas. And when I say hated, I mean HATED! I couldn't stand the squishy texture and the sweet taste and would pick out the peas from any dish in which my mom used them. I particularly couldn't stand the peas in the U.S., where they were even squishier and sweeter than those in India, which were somewhat palatable. So imagine my surprise as an adult when I discovered that actually, peas aren't so bad after all. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that I love them...be they American, Indian or even French! With spring finally upon us and the unseasonably early warm and sunny weather here in Paris, there is nothing that tastes more seasonal and delicious to me right now than the classic combination of peas and mint. I combined them in a soup at a dinner party with friends during my recent trip to the States and was happy that other avowed pea-haters enjoyed this too. So I made the soup again last night, to rave reviews from my husband.
You may be wondering how those who are not enthusiastic about peas could appreciate this soup, since it is quite simple and isn't jazzed up with any spices or accoutrements. The answer is in the mint! With at least 13 to 18 different species, mint is the wonder herb! Fresh mint perks up just about anything from cocktails, yogurt raitas, biryanis, teas and desserts. It's a pretty powerful little herb too, known to aid against stomach aches, chest pains and the common cold. Mint is apparently very easy to grow too, so I'm thinking that maybe I should plant some in a big pot on our balcony.
If we had our own supply, I would be making this soup all the time because it is so tasty, gorgeous (love that green color) and best of all...so simple to make! This is the kind of soup that will impress guests and make them think that you slaved away in the kitchen to make it when in reality it can be whipped up in minutes! A friend suggested that it might be good as a cold soup too, which I think would be lovely for the summer. Feel free to omit the cream if you want a vegan version.
MINTY PEA SOUPServes 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
20 ounces (about 500 grams) green peas (I used frozen)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or 2 1/2 cups water and 1 vegeteable bouillon cube)
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons light or heavy cream (crème légère or crème liquide)
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, stir well and saute until the onion turns translucent.
2. Add the frozen green peas and stir well. Stir in the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil.
3. Remove from heat and add the chopped mint leaves. Let cool slightly.
4. Liquify in a blender/food processor or using a hand blender. Taste and add additional mint if desired, blending after addition.
5. Return the soup to the saucepan and warm over low heat. Stir in the cream. Once heated all the way through, remove from heat and serve.