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OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Chilled Pea Soup good for impending hot summer

by Kelly Brant | May 11, 2022 at 2:13 a.m.
Chilled Pea Soup (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

If recent weather (highs in the 90s already!) is any indication of the kind of summer that's in store for us, you're going to want to commit this recipe to memory.

This almost no-cook chilled soup is bright and fresh and so easy to make: Saute a bit of onion, celery and garlic until soft. Defrost frozen sweet peas with boiling water; drain. Blitz with a bit of water, plain yogurt, lemon juice and fresh herbs. Chill until ready to serve.

That's all there is to it.

The recipe is from "Your Daily Veg: Modern, Fuss-Free Vegetarian Food" by Joe Woodhouse (Kyle Books, $26.99). The original recipe called for 18 ounces of peas, but knowing I'd be the only one eating it (husband Joe is not a pea fan, despite my attempts to convert him) I used a 10-ounce bag and adjusted the other ingredients accordingly.

Woodhouse suggests serving the soup with hot toast slathered with cold butter.

[Video not showing above? Click here to watch: arkansasonline.com/511burner]

Chilled Pea Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ small onion, diced
  • 1 small (6 inches) rib celery, diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen sweet peas
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)

Handful soft herbs (I used mint, chives and dill), divided use

Bring a kettle of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook until completely softened, but not browned. If the onion begins to brown, add a splash of water and continue cooking until the vegetables are soft and the water has evaporated, about 12 minutes.

Once the water comes to a boil, place the frozen peas in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over them to cover. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Drain.

In a blender or food processor, combine the drained peas, the onion mixture, 1 cup cold water, a generous pinch of salt and ground black pepper, the juice from half a lemon, 2 tablespoons yogurt and most of the herbs (reserve some for garnish). Process until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, pepper, lemon juice and/or yogurt. You'll want to season a little more aggressively than normal as chilling the soup will dull its flavor. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Stir well before serving.

Finely mince the reserved herbs.

Serve drizzled with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper and herbs.

Makes about 3 cups.

Recipe adapted from "Your Daily Veg: Modern, Fuss-Free Vegetarian Food" by Joe Woodhouse


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