Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creamy Spring Pea Soup...

What better vegetable to represent Spring than peas? Fresh or frozen they are absolutely delicious with their bright green color, pleasant aroma, and sweet snappy crunch. When I was thinking up ideas for what to serve as part of my Earth Day dinner I decided peas would have to get worked in somehow. However after quite a bit of thought on the matter I was no closer to figuring out how exactly I wanted to prepare them, so it was off to my shelves of cook books for inspiration.

After searching and searching through book after book I came upon the realization that peas are A) a strangely under-utilized vegetable, and B) Seem to only get tossed into a lot of rice, and pasta dishes merely as an afterthought. During my search I did happen across a few pea soup recipes that use call for green peas but I found them uninspired. Mostly the recipes called for peas to be pureed with water and spices like parsley or mint - bleh, boring.

I myself love green peas, have always been a fan, and have never had any problem eating them plain. They are both sweet and savory enough to be totally satisfying on their own without any further alteration. In fact as a kid, when my mother or Oma or somebody was cooking with peas I’d often hang around and pop semi-frozen peas into my mouth like they were candy. It sounds strange I know, but they’re surprisingly good in that state. Anyway, I knew if I was going to present my Earth Day dinner to share with all of you, I’d have to do something a little more creative then serve a bowl of plain peas, and lets be honest as good as they are there isn’t anything the least bit elegant or ceremonious about plain peas. Right?

I did quite like the idea of a soup though, and with that idea in mind ingredient parings started bubbling to the surface and a recipe began to take shape. I wanted to keep it quick and simple, lightly seasoned but thick and flavorful and serve it roughly around room temperature rather then piping hot. Since it is suppose to be a spring soup, and many spring days are quite warm I wanted to create a dish that would refresh. What I came up with far exceeded my expectations and my husband went crazy for it.

The soup has a really lovely pale green color - something that’s not very well reflected in my photos, I’m sorry. Unfortunately the photos I took on Earth Day were unusable and so I had to redo them today using the leftovers, however as luck would have it, it’s very overcast out today. Which means very little natural light, which in turn means I had to use my inadequate kitchen lighting, which as I’ve mentioned before tends to give everything a slightly golden hue. Red, Orange, Green, and Yellow foods never properly photograph, but at least you get the idea. - It also has a lovely thick and creamy texture thanks to the cashews. If you want an even creamier soup you can soak the cashews in water for 1-2 hours before you use them, just make sure to drain them and rinse them afterwards and to use fresh water for the soup. Also since peas are quite sweet naturally you may want to opt out of using the Agave, it’s up to you, and finally if you prefer you can use fresh instead of frozen peas. Just keep in mind they’ll take a couple more minutes to cook.

Creamy Spring Pea Soup

1 C Raw Cashews
1 C Water
1-2 Tbsp White Miso (to taste)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Agave (Optional)
1 tsp Onion Powder
½ tsp Ground Mustard Powder
3-4 Garlic Cloves
Black Pepper to taste
Smoked Paprika to taste
16oz Frozen Peas + 1 C additional Frozen Peas
½ C water
A bit of minced Parsley to garnish (Optional)

- Place Cashews, water, Miso, lemon juice, onion powder, smoked paprika, garlic, mustard powder, and agave in a high speed blender. Blend on high for 30-90 seconds until completely smooth. Taste for flavor and adjust as needed. Then leave the cashew mixture inside your blender as you move onto the next step.

- Place 16oz of the Frozen peas and ½ C of water in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Bring to boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for 2-4 minutes until peas are bright green and thawed out.

- Carefully add the contents of the pot to your blender. Blend on medium speed until peas have been incorporated. You don’t need to puree the whole thing, it’s okay if some peas don’t get broken up.

- Once peas have been incorporated, pour the mixture back into the pot, over medium-low heat. Add the extra 1C of frozen peas. Along with black pepper to taste. Simmer until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed then serve garnished with fresh minced parsley a sprinkle of smoked paprika and enjoy!

*** Note - This recipe can be made soy-free if you use chickpea Miso***

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely loved this dish! I hope you make it again some time soon. ;) I love that you utilize peas b/c you're right - they're really underused. Such a good idea!