Big and Baby Green Pea Soup
Per discussion Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today with Anne Willan.
In Hannah Glasse’s time, when peas came directly from the garden,
they would likely be a jumble of both tender green pea pods and fat
pods with tough old peas inside. Even today, at the farmers’ market, a
bag of peas will include lots of sizes. Cooking times for big and baby
peas are radi-cally different and Hannah solves the problem by making
a purée with the old peas, then adding the newer little ones as garnish.
The contrast of the mature pea purée with the sweetness of the baby
peas is stunning.
SERVES 3 TO 4
6 quarts/6 liters pea pods (about 4 pounds/1.8 kg)
1 quart/1 liter water
Salt and pepper
3 to 4 sprigs mint (optional)
2 sticks/1 cup/225 g butter
A long baguette roll, for croutons (optional)
1. Shell the peas into two bowls, placing the fat old peas in one bowl
and the smaller new ones in the other. Discard the pods.
2. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil with a little salt and pepper.
Add the fat peas and mint (if using) and simmer until the peas are very
tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the peas, discarding the mint and reserving
3. In a stand blender or with a handheld blender, purée the cooked
peas. If making croutons, set aside about one-quarter of the butter, then dice the rest and add it to the pea purée. Work again with the blender until
4. Bring the reserved water back to a boil, add the new peas with a little salt and simmer until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain the peas, then stir
into the pea and butter purée. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and set the soup
5. If making croutons, cut the baguette roll diagonally into 1⁄2-inch/1
cm slices. In a skillet, melt the reserved butter over medium heat and fry the bread, turning once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes total.
6. Warm the soup until very hot—do not let it boil or the butter will
separate. If the soup does separate, particularly when reheating, it must be
worked again with a blender. Taste the soup, adjust the seasoning, and serve with the croutons floating on top.