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I especially love soups that I can make, with minimal effort, that are healthy and perfect on a cold day. Even better is when they are made with goodness from my fall harvest!
Part of the fun of herbs is that even in the dead of winter you can have fresh ones in the house, growing and ready to harvest at any point. I love how it can add just a dash of freshness when you really need it.
I have made several variations of pea soup in the past. My kids love it because they call it “slime soup.” Boys love to name things that way…kind of gross, but if it gets them to eat bright green soup that is full of nutrition, I will not complain! This variation, I have to say, is one of my favorites. While it is the dead of winter, the mint adds a bit of a spring and summer feel, even while the temps are well below zero and the snow is knee deep outside.
Here is what you will need:
• 1 bag of frozen peas - about a pound or so
• 7 stems of fresh mint
• 1 container of mascarpone cheese
• 1 cup veggie broth
• ½ cup water
• Pinch of kosher salt
• Pinch of fresh ground pepper
• Dash of red pepper flake
To get started, put the broth, water, peas, and half of the mint into a pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.
Now – here are a couple of quick notes. I like this as a runnier, brothier soup (if brothier is a word). If you want it to be thicker, go with only half a cup of broth, but keep the water. When you move it to the blender later, you can also reserve a little of the water in case you want to make it thinner/thicker.
Also, when I put the mint in, I made sure to rub it in my hands to crush it a bit. This lets some of the oils start to seep out of the leaves and will help to infuse the water better.
Once you are at a boil, turn the heat down and cover the pot, allowing the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes.
While that is simmering, you will want to chiffonade your remaining mint. To do this, pull off the leaves and make a small stack of them. Roll them up together and then slice through, creating little ribbons of minty goodness.
Once the soup has simmered for about 10 minutes, remove it from the heat. Pull out about ¼ cup of the peas for garnish and remove all of the mint leaves.
Pour the remaining broth and peas into the blender. Add in your salt, pepper, and red pepper flake. Then add about ½ of your mascarpone (approx 4 oz. total) into the blender as well.
Another tip – if you have an emersion blender, you can do this right in the pot. If you do not, like me, you can put it into the regular blender. If you do this, however, be sure to remove the stopper on the lid – if you leave it on, with the heat, the pressure will cause it to possibly pop off. Just use a dishtowel and hold it over so that it doesn’t splatter everywhere, but keeps the pressure from blowing.
Once it is blended and to the consistency that you want, plate it with some of the fresh chopped mint, a few peas, and a little dollop of mascarpone. I added some bits of crostini – I love carbs with my soup – and dug into the bowl and a good book.
(makes approx 4 servings – can be refrigerated up to a week)
I hope that you enjoy a nice bowl of hot soup on a cold day like I do.