Pea soup is wonderful and this one is a fast, easy, light version of the richer kind that contains cream. It can be made vegetarian via vegetable broth but tastes better if Swanson’s Natural Goodness low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth is used. Or better yet, homemade stock. I modified the original recipe a bit to make it better.
Makes 6 servings
2 16-ounce packages frozen petite peas (can thaw or not, see below)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
½ an onion (or more), diced
2 celery stalks, diced (option: save a few of most-tender celery leaves from inner stalk and use them instead of pea sprouts if you can’t find the latter)
~ 3 shallots, chopped (about 6 ounces)
(optional) 2 teas lemon zest
4 cups (or more) vegetable broth (or Swanson’s chicken broth, which will taste better)
3 T chopped fresh tarragon, divided
3 T roughly chopped parsley leaves
Plain nonfat or regular yogurt, stirred (Fage brand is far superior to others; get it at Draeger’s and other fine grocers)
Small fresh pea sprouts*
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, onion and celery stalk and sauté until golden and almost tender, about 7 minutes.
(microwave) – Microwave 2/3 of frozen peas in microwave-safe bowl
(alternative) – use 2/3 of slightly defrosted peas
Add broth and bring to boil. Add peas and 2 tablespoons tarragon and lemon zest, if using. Reduce heat to medium and cook just a minute or two. The objective is for the peas not to lose their bright green color.
Add parsley (this intensifies the green color). Stir. Let soup sit to cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until completely smooth. Return soup to same pan. Bring to simmer and thin with more broth (or water) by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon. Season with pepper (and salt, if needed).
Cook remaining peas in microwave until warm, about 1 minute. Or (alternative) use remainder of slightly defrosted peas. Save a few peas for garnish for each bowl. Add the remainder to hot soup to warm them up.
Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Put a scoop of yogurt on top of each. Garnish with some reserved peas and pea sprouts (or a few small pieces of celery leaves if you can’t find the sprouts).
*Available at Whole Foods and at farmers markets during the season