Pea Soup

This time of year I find myself making soup at least a couple of times a month.  Nothing better to chase away the winter blues – plus if you stay away from the cream, you get a filling meal that is pretty healthy.  An added bonus is my toddler gets a kick out of sucking down soup with a straw – which means I generally tend to stick to vegetable purees.  Inspiration for this soup came from Ina Garten’s new cookbook Barefoot Contessa Foolproof.  My dear sister sent me a copy since she knows Garten is one of my favorite cookbook authors.  Her recipes are generally pretty unfussy but are always greater than the sum of their parts.  A pea soup recipe caught my eye immediately in the starter chapter.

With only six ingredients and a short cooking time it appealed to my very pregnant self immensely.  Reading through the recipe I was reminded of a pea dish that my mother used to make pretty often while I was growing up.  It was a simple saute of peas and onions that had a tangy fresh flavor.  I used to adore this dish and thought why not transfer the spice profile to this soup.  After a quick phone call to Mom, I added aamchur, red chili flakes, and ground coriander to my ingredients.  Ina Garten’s original recipe called for a topping of crisped ham but I wanted to keep playing with different kinds of sour flavors.  I added some crumbled feta and grated lemon zest to my finished soup to introduce creamy and sharp sourness.  It was a hit with both the men in my household – and best of all took about 30 minutes to make.  I served simply with fresh bread and good butter but it would work nicely as a starter to fancier meal as well.



  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped shallots
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 lbs frozen peas
  • 2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tbl aamchur*
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cup crumbled feta – I like Bulgarian or French
  • freshly grated zest of 1 lemon

1. In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallot and saute until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, aamchur, red chili flakes, and coriander and saute for about a minute.
3. Add the chicken stock, frozen peas, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.
4. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
5.  Puree the soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a traditional blender.
6.  Taste for salt – depending on your stock you may need more.
7.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with feta and lemon zest.

* Aamchur is dried mango powder and has a distinctive sour taste.  Look for it at your favorite Indian store.

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