English peas are one of my favorite spring ingredients, and this recipe is another re-incarnation of the English peas puree with mint. If you simply thin the puree with some liquid – voila! you have got a soup.
serves: 8 difficulty: easy prep time: 20 min
- 3 cups fresh shelled English peas
- 1 medim shallot
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (if you want to keep vegan / vegetarian)
- 1 bunch of mint, stems removed
- 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 preserved lemon, or zest and juice of one lemon
You typically buy fresh English peas in the shells so you first need to shell them.
Dice the shallots.
Heat a 3-4 quart stock pot, and add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the shallots and sauté until they start turning gold.
Add the English peas and continue sautéing for 3-4 min. The peas will turn a brighter green color. Add 1 quart of the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, and cook until the peas a soft – about 20-30 min. If the stock evaporates, add more stock or water to keep the peas submerged. When the peas are soft, remove from the heat and let cool.
When the peas are cool enough to handle, strain them and reserve the cooking liquid. Place the peas in a food processor or blender, add 1 cup of the cooking liquid, the mint leaves from half the bunch of mint, and purée until smooth.
While pureing you may have to periodically scrape the mixture off the walls of the food processor. Then use the remaining quart of stock to thin the soup. Add 1/2 cup of cream, and season with some black pepper. If you are using preserved lemon, dice it in 1/8 inch dice, add 2/3 of it to the soup, and mix well. Note that the preserved lemon is very salty, and there is no need to add any additional salt to the soup. If you are using lemon juice and zest instead of preserved lemon – then add it to the soup, mix well, and season with salt.
Whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream until peaks form. Then gently fold in the ricotta cheese.
To serve, ladle the soup in bowls, place a dollop of the whipped ricotta cream in the middle of the bowl, and garnish with the remaining 1/3 of the diced preserved lemon and a leaf of mint.
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