This was an off-the-cuff creation that worked a treat. I know it's often made with cream, but I honestly wanted the pea and mint flavour to really shine and felt cream would make it too rich. A swirl of crème fraîche is perfect in this instance. It was a magnificent, light lunch that brought some colour to our day! The children loved it too, particularly as they chose to drink it out of tea cups in a pretend 'witches' tea party', à la The Jolly Postman.
Serves 6-8 (or more!):
3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 large leeks, or 3 small-ish, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1.5L vegetable or chicken stock
900g-1kg frozen petit pois or peas
a good sprig of mint, leaves detached, but chuck the stalk in there too to remove before blending
salt and pepper
a squeeze of lemon juice
crème fraîche, for swirling
extra mint to garnish
Melt the butter in a large soup or stock pot over a low-medium heat. Add celery, leeks and garlic and gently cook them until they're soft, but not coloured - about 10 minutes. Add the stock, mint, a little squeeze of lemon and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the frozen peas and simmer for about 2 minutes (for petits pois... possibly a minute longer for regular peas but I'd err on the lower end of the simmer-scale!). Add salt and pepper to taste, and more lemon if need be. Then, either transfer the soup to a heatproof blender OR use a stick blender like this one (I wouldn't be without mine!) directly in the pot for a lovely smooth soup... and enjoy that amazing emerald colour emerging! To serve, reheat a little, ladle in to bowls and spoon a swirl of crème fraîche and a little sprig of mint. Brilliant with crusty bread and butter, like anything is!
If you don't have leeks, you can use any alliums you like - onions, shallots, spring onions... If your peas aren't particularly sweet you can also add a teaspoon of sugar to taste.