You can serve this soup hot or cold. Its flavor is brighter if you use very fresh, young peas. The starchiness of mature peas can give the soup a split-pea flavor, so if you can find only older peas, use frozen instead. For a vegetarian variation, use pea broth instead of the chicken broth and water.
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Melt the butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until both are very soft, 6 to 8 minutes. They shouldn’t brown. If they’re cooking too fast, reduce the heat to medium low.
Add the peas, broth, half of the mint, and 2 cups water. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer vigorously until the peas are very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. In batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the peas weren’t very sweet, stir in the sugar.
Pour the heavy cream into a medium bowl and whip it to soft peaks with a whisk. Fold in the lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls and top with a generous spoonful of the lemon cream. Scatter the remaining chopped mint over the soup and serve. If you choose to serve the soup cold, chill it in the fridge but take it out 15 minutes before you serve. Adjust the seasoning if necessary before serving.
This is very nice and easy to make - definitely more complicated than you'd think.I recommend following the recipe first, just to get a feel for it.But the next time I make it, I plan to add diced ham and bacon crumbles to it,
A truly lovely recipe, far more complex in taste than its few ingredients would imply. As spring--and fresh peas!-- has not yet come to my Hudson Valley neighborhood, I used frozen peas, homemade chicken stock, and a combination of fresh and dried mint (the latter is not to be scorned--learned this years ago from Middle Eastern cooks). Like another reviewer, I (no one else however) found the very small pea skins not optimum so, making a second batch, I put the entire soup through a Mouli mill and it was perfectly smooth and rich with no pea bits. I thought the lemon cream was gilding the lily (for a lemon boost, the zest can go into the soup itself) and a little "lightweight"--think I would use creme fraiche or a mix of cf and heavy cream next time. Any which way: an elegant soup--thank you, Annie!
My sister-in-law made this as part of the menu for Mother's Day & I thought it was sublime! A very nice combination of flavors for a spring soup. The freshness of the mint pairs nicely with the creamy quality of the peas, A spoonful of heavy cream was accented quite nicely with touch of lemon zest. I feel clean and satisfied after eating. I could have gone for seconds.
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