Spring Pea Soup

Spring Pea Soup
Yes, I know it’s not spring yet.  And the snow we’ve been getting lately seems to indicate that spring is nowhere nearby.  Yet the weather has been getting a little warmer lately, and guess what? It’s already March!   Time really flies.  Christmas really felt like just yesterday.

I whipped this up tonight because I wanted vegetables for dinner yet I was too hungry and tired to stop by a supermarket.  Instead I supported my local tiny urban convenience store and picked up 2 packages of frozen peas.

I like this soup because it’s so simple yet so flexible at the same time.  Unlike its cousin, the hearty split-pea soup, this soup is light, fresh, and totally reminds me of spring.  You can really taste the natural sweetness of the peas, which I love.
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Ingredients
1 onion – sliced
2 packages of frozen peas
4-8 strips of bacon
1 cup broth (or water)
bacon
Cook bacon over medium-low heat in a skillet until the bacon is nice and crispy (6-10 minutes).  Remove the bacon.  Pour off most of the bacon fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pan.  Saute the onions in the bacon fat until the onions are soft and slightly browned (about 15 minutes).  Add peas and 1 cup of broth and cook at medium heat until the peas are soft (about 5 minutes).  Blend with a hand blender, and salt to taste.
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Bacon is optional, but it really adds a nice crunch and smokiness to the dish.  Crumble the bacon and sprinkle on top of the soup.  This can also be enjoyed chilled.
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The secret to keeping the pea soup this gorgeous bright green color?  Just a touch of acid (Vitamin C!) to prevent oxidation (which leads to browning) from occurring. I threw in a splash of lemon juice.  You can also crush up a Vitamin C tablet and throw it in after you’ve blended the peas.  For a nerdy science lesson, scroll to the bottom.  :)

I would treat this “recipe” more as a guide than an actual recipe.  I personally did not actually measure out anything.  You can play around with this recipe.  Try using different broths, or different aromatics.  I bet shallots or leeks would also taste good.  You can also experiment with herbs, such as mint, basil, or parsley.  Some people like add heavy cream, which makes it less spring-like, but still delicious in a very different way.  Experiment!  And have fun.  :)

Nerdy Science Lesson
Oxidation
Many fruits and vegetables can turn brown upon contact with oxygen because of certain “defense” compounds (1- and 2- ring phenolic compounds) in the plant’s cells.  When the cell wall is bruised, the phenolic compounds escape, reacting with plant enzymes and oxygen.  You can reduce or eliminate browning either by 1) killing the enzymes (boiling/high heat) 2) chilling the food below 40° F, 4° C to slow down the oxidation or 3) Adding a bit of acid to slow down the oxidation process.  Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) inhibits browning in two ways.  It’s a strong reducing agent (undo-ing the oxidation that’s occuring) and it’s also an anti-oxidant, scooping up oxygen so it can’t react with the phenols in the plant.

Disclaimer
This post is being submitted for a chance to win Foodbuzz’s BACONALIA challenge
 
Fresh Pea Soup on Foodista

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Comments

  1. says

    Oooh Lordie!!! That color is GORGEOUS! That lovely pale green is my favorite color in the world! But top it off with bacon and oh you can kill. me. now! (well, after I finish that bowl of course)

  2. says

    Thanks for the nerdy science lesson! And for the absolutely stunning soup, which I plan to make very soon. However, I’m unfamiliar with the phrase “Bacon is optional.” Wha…? Bacon is NEVER optional in our house. Definitely required. :)

  3. says

    Oh my goodness, that photo is INSTANT SPRING. Beautiful color and such a celebration of the green we’ll be seeing on all the trees very soon! I planted peas, so am hoping to make our own pea soup, but I’m sure it won’t look as lovely and elegant as this!!!

  4. says

    LOL. As a fellow medical/science nerd, I appreciate the little tidbit at the end haha!

    The soup is so vibrant – it literally jumps out at you! Of course, the bacon is always a nice touch :)

  5. says

    What a pretty soup – I can’t wait to try that recipe. Could you do me a favour and specify “2 packages” of frozen peas?
    I liked the nerdy science lesson. Vitamin C looks like pacman, which triples the nerd factor.

  6. says

    Jo jo – Thanks for catching the vagueness of the recipe. I need to go home and check, but I believe it’s two 10 oz packages. It’s those small rectangular boxes of peas.

    Hope that helps! Once I get home & check I can update the recipe.

  7. Diane says

    You’ve inspired me to try and make pea soup this weekend. I have been trying to make soup from scratch at least once a week. Part of my diet regimen.

  8. The Dude says

    I am from The Netherlands and always make our traditional winter pea soup which we call Snert. A good Snert starts with a pig’s leg and takes about 24 hours until it’s at it’s best.
    With that in mind i tried this one. I really like your spring soup, it’s fresh and easy to make. I added some mint leaves as well. Thanks for the recipe!

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